Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Walk-Up to Yahoo’s 2009 Annual Meeting (Liveblogging Starts at 10 am PDT)


Let’s be honest–even with the sassy stylings of CEO Carol Bartz, who will be appearing at her first Yahoo annual meeting this morning, there are few of these affairs that are even remotely exciting.

Last year’s Yahoo meeting did have a frisson of possibility, since billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer were fixing to put the double squeeze on the board and, especially, its then-CEO and co-founder, Jerry Yang. Also, major Yahoo (YHOO) shareholders threatened a revolt.

But, no. In the end, Carl gave in and took a Yahoo directorship, Microsoft wandered off in a corporate huff and Yang and the board managed to get dinged by angry investors, but not donged.

This year, the stock has improved, hovering in the $15 a share range, although it is still pretty moribund.

“I am too tired of Yahoo stock to be angry any more,” said one major shareholder. “It is just wait-and-see what Bartz will do now for a lot of us.”

This year, most of the same 12-member board, now including Bartz, is up for reelection and it is unlikely they will get even a bad grade. Yahoo will also ask for approval of its accounting firm (yaaaaawn).

As to other stuff going on in the ballroom of the Santa Clara Marriott–yes, it is that boring!–in Silicon Valley, there are several important votes before the shareholders tomorrow.

One is a standard proposal regarding executive compensation or a “say on pay” proposal, which will be introduced by an outside stockholder.

Yahoo’s board is recommending against it, natch, because it would apparently be a horror show if actual owners of a company got to weigh in on what execs are paid in a significant way.

Another proposal, put forward by the company and thought of internally as an uphill battle, regards changes to be made to a 1995 stock plan and to a 1996 employee stock purchase plan.

The latter is most important, a request to authorize more shares for future employee options grants, which will be a large addition to the pool–30 million more shares–if authorized. The stock will be used to keep valuable Yahoo talent in place.

Frankly, with departures continuing, Yahoo could use the share ammo.

Lastly, you can read all the good stuff–like about salaries and bonuses, deserved or, more typically, otherwise–in Yahoo’s proxy statements here.

BoomTown will begin liveblogging the annual meeting at 10 am PDT, after doubtlessly enjoying a lovely Yahoo-sanctioned breakfast pastry.