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Yahoo Urged by Third Point to Publicize Letters to Bidders

Yahoo! Inc. investor Third Point LLC, aiming to step up pressure on the board of the largest U.S. Web portal, urged the company to disclose correspondence with groups that have expressed interest in making a bid.

Third Point, the beneficial owner of 5.3 percent of Yahoo’s shares, said in a letter to the board that it is concerned negotiations may fail to generate the most shareholder value, according to a statement. The letter says the board must act to reduce the “uncertainty permeating the marketplace.”

“We ask that you immediately make public the letter(s) in which Yahoo invited third parties to make proposals for the company,” Third Point Chief Executive Officer Daniel Loeb wrote in the letter. “We assume that Yahoo’s process letters did not place any artificial restrictions on the proposals that the Yahoo board was willing to consider,” including prohibiting bids to purchase the whole company, Loeb wrote.

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, is exploring options after firing Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz in September. Under Bartz, the company failed to keep pace with Internet rivals Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

“As previously announced, the board is evaluating various alternatives as part of its comprehensive strategic review process, all of which are designed to enhance shareholder value and promote growth and innovation at Yahoo,” Yahoo said in an e-mailed statement. “The board’s process is open to all alternatives and has not restricted the range of various options or proposals in any way.”

Yahoo shares fell 0.3 percent to $15.42 at the close in New York. The stock has declined 7.3 percent this year.

Third Point’s new letter follows a statement in early November, when the investor demanded two Yahoo board seats and asked co-founder Jerry Yang to step down as a director.

Yahoo’s board has met to discuss offers it received for a minority stake from bidders including TPG Capital and a group led by Silver Lake, people familiar with the matter have said.

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