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Icahn Says He Won't Attend Yahoo Stockholder Meeting

Investor Carl Icahn, who ran a heated proxy battle to unseat the Yahooboard and oust its chief executive, said he will not be attending the Internet company's annual meeting Friday.

Carl Icahn
Shiho Fukada
Carl Icahn

Icahn, who on July 21 settled for three board seats after failing to win enough support from shareholders for a complete slate, said in a statement that he didn't want the meeting to "turn into a media event for no purpose."

Icahn said he had met with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock since the compromise and said he was optimistic he could work with them, even with disagreements.

"I believe both gentlemen genuinely wish that we will be able to work together to enhance value," said Icahn. "While we still disagree on many points, I have great hope this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Icahn launched a proxy battle to unseat the Yahoo board in early May after the company failed to reach an agreement to be sold to Microsoft for $47.5 billion. Yahoo said the offer undervalued it, prompting Microsoft to walk away.

The 72-year-old billionaire was successful in getting the two companies to reopen talks for another deal, which Yahoo also rejected.

Icahn, who holds about 5 percent of Yahoo stock, has vowed to push the company into some kind of a transaction as a board member. He won a concession that he would be involved in any future discussions for potential transactions as a board member.

But Icahn acknowledged that he failed to win support from enough shareholders to win a complete slate. Among them was Bill Miller, the influential Legg Mason portfolio manager, whose funds hold about 4.4 percent of Yahoo and on July 18 threw his support behind the Yahoo board slate.

"In today's corporate governance system where large mutual funds control so much of the stock, it is extremely difficult to oust an entire board, no matter how strongly a large number of shareholders feel about the board's previous actions," said Icahn.

"Realizing I could not gain control, I saw no point in spending the final two weeks in a debilitating fight, when little would be accomplished except to build animosity between both camps."

Yahoo was up 2 cents at $20.05 on Nasdaq in morning trading.