Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Starboard Will Seek to Replace Yahoo's Entire Board, WSJ Says

  • The activist firm will put up its own nominees, WSJ says
  • Nominees include Starboard's CEO, media and tech executives

Starboard Value LP will announce Thursday it’s seeking to replace Yahoo! Inc.’s entire board with its own slate of directors, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a letter prepared by the activist investor.

The investment firm will nominate nine directors to Yahoo’s board, the Journal reported. Among the nominees are investment banker Tor Braham, technology executives Dale Fuller and Richard Hill, media executive Eddy Hartenstein and Starboard Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Smith, the newspaper said.

Starboard, one of the most prolific U.S. activist investors, has been a harsh critic of the struggling Internet company, and had been preparing to launch a potential proxy fight, people familiar with the matter said last month. Yahoo declined to comment on the report. Starboard wasn’t immediately available for comment outside normal U.S. business hours.

Investors are losing patience with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who has little progress to show on her revival efforts after more than three years. Mayer has presided over sluggish sales growth and so far failed to separate the company’s main Web business from a multibillion-dollar stake in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Starboard began to call for changes in 2014 and recently stepped up criticism of management even as Yahoo said it would consider alternatives like the sale of core operations.

Starboard has a track record of compelling companies to heed its wishes. In 2014, it persuaded investors to replace Darden Restaurants Inc.’s 12-member board after the unpopular sale of the Red Lobster restaurant chain to Golden Gate Capital. The investment firm also pressured office-supply rivals Staples Inc. and Office Depot Inc. into a merger.

Starboard held less than 1 percent of Yahoo stock at the end of 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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