Carl Icahn wants Yahoo CEO fired

June 3, 2008, 8:51 PM UTC

By Yi-Wyn Yen

Another day, another angry Yahoo shareholder.

Yahoo investor Carl Icahn told the Wall Street Journal that he wants wants to get rid of Jerry Yang as Yahoo’s CEO for botching the Microsoft (MSFT) bid.

Icahn is putting more pressure on Yahoo (YHOO) in an effort to force a union with Microsoft. “It’s no longer a mystery to me why Microsoft’s offer isn’t around,” Icahn told the Journal. “How can Yahoo keep saying they’re willing to negotiate and sell the company on the one hand, while at the same time they’re completely sabotaging the process without telling anyone.”

The corporate raider’s scare tactics to bring Microsoft and Yahoo together haven’t worked so far. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer withdrew a $33-per-share bid one month ago after Yang indicated he wanted a higher offer. Shortly after, Icahn bought up a minor stake in Yahoo and announced plans to launch a proxy fight to oust Yahoo’s board in hopes of convincing Ballmer to come back. But Ballmer has said he has moved on. So far, has not revealed any plans to make another offer.

Icahn told the Journal that he doesn’t believe Ballmer will return because of Yang. Court documents in a Yahoo shareholder lawsuit that were unsealed Monday accused Yang of trying to sabotage the Microsoft deal.

The complaint made by two Michigan pension funds said that Yang convinced the board to adopt a poison pill that would make a Microsoft takeover extremely difficult. Though Microsoft said it was willing to set aside $1.5 billion to retain Yahoo employees, Yang adopted a plan that would allow all employees to leave Yahoo and receive a generous severance package if the company was bought.

“I’m very cynical about many of the boards and CEO’s in this country, but even I am amazed at the lengths that Jerry Yang and the board went to entrench themselves in this situation,” Mr. Icahn told the Journal.

The Journal also reported that Yahoo’s board is scheduled to meet Tuesday.