Icahn Finally Adopts His Own Web Strategy
Corporate raider Carl Icahn has had much to say about Yahoo's internal machinations and its refusal to submit to the hostile overtures of Microsoft.
He's had much to say about the company's planned partnership with Google, which surprisingly, seemed a little more positive than many experts had anticipated.
He's had much to say in the past about Oracle, and BEA Systems, and Motorola, and Biogen Idec. Trouble has been, he's never had that direct connection with so many investors who have been hanging on his every word.
You already knew he was planning to launch a namesake blog, since you read about those plans here yesterday. Well, his blog went live this afternoon and save for a few technical hiccups, it looks pretty good. It's kinda funny in a way since there's even an email link (email@example.com) that gives the impression of just how approachable this guy is. Trouble is, the link doesn't work. At least not yet.
But that's a small issue since I can't believe Icahn himself will be reading, much less responding to, his readers. You never know though. In his first post, dated June 12, he thanks readers for their comments, saying "I am impressed that so many people support this cause. I appreciate the readership and will do my best to expose the worst of corporate America." He goes on to quote notes from several readers, who must've called him, or emailed him at another address. But I digress.
The blog is pretty compelling stuff, and couldn't be more timely. One post is called the "Absurdity of the Poison Pill;" another is the "Absurdity of the Staggered Board." His post "About CEOs -- Anti Darwinian Metaphor -- Survival of the Unfittest," is particularly telling: "The way CEOs become CEOs in America is a travesty." He calls it the survival of the unfittest. Many of us remember it as "The Peter Principle."
No matter how you look at these posts, they are hardly mere rants. They are reasoned arguments that give readers a sense of where Icahn is coming from, and why he does what he does, with a passion all his own.
Icahn makes no excuses: he makes money. For himself. For his investors. That's his goal. No complexity. No secret agenda. And he's risen to a level that his mere involvement in a company gets him halfway home to his goal. He doesn't always win. Motorola was a mess. Same with Biogen Idec. But he usually does. And like a baseball player only hitting the ball one out of three times or so, Icahn has become a superstar because his average is simply better than most others.
Another post: "Absurdity of Corporate Board Elections." "Absurdity" comes up a lot, can you tell? "To allow entrenched corporate interest to sustain this anti-shareholder regime is outrageous." If you think that applies to the situation at Yahoo, then DING, DING, DING! You're spot on.
Today's post is entitled "Corporate Democracy is a Myth." He makes a strong case: "When you rid a company of a fruitless board, the rewards are often enormous because the underlying company and its employees can be excellent. It is the top level management that hangs like an albatross around the company’s neck. Years from now historians will marvel why we the shareholders – the legitimate owners of companies – did not do something effective about removing terrible managements."
He's set his sights on Yahoo now. And now he's turning to the web to appeal directly not just to Yahoo investors, but investors at large, who have had their fill of ineffective boards and are looking for some guidance from a guy who knows a thing or two about all this. Icahn doesn't always get it right, but in the current economic climate, and craziness on Wall Street, he may find that his blog coalesces a very large following. If he keeps it up, icahnreport might quickly become a must-read for anyone with money in the market.
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