Activist investors have put a lot of pressure on Yahoo lately to replace its management and sell its core business.
But instead of reaching a settlement and shaking up its management, Yahoo seems intent on facing a full-on proxy battle that could turn things really ugly.
The latest signal came from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s interview with PBS’ Charlie Rose on Thursday evening.
“I would love to be running Yahoo! We have a three-year strategic plan,” Mayer said when asked whether she thought she would be running Yahoo a year from now.
Mayer reiterated her three-year turnaround plan, which includes the expansion of Yahoo’s mobile and video businesses, and said the team in place was best-suited for the job.
“We have a terrific team at Yahoo and I really hope that they’re allowed to continue on to do the — to do the good work,” Mayer added.
The activist investor Starboard Value has publicly demanded a management overhaul at Yahoo, including Mayer’s departure. It has threatened a potential proxy fight if its demands are not accepted.
Mayer has also been reported to be causing a rift within Yahoo’s board forpitching a deal on her own that possibly involves a plan that would let her keep her job.
On top of that, Yahoo just hired two new board members Thursday morning, reportedly just moments before its first meeting with Starboard. The new directors were added without consulting with Starboard,according to multiple reports, which reflects Yahoo’s intention to engage in a proxy fight and not succumb to Starboard’s demands.
Wall Street was not impressed by the new hires. SunTrust analyst Robert Peck wrote in a note Thursday that he was a “little perplexed” by the move and that it created a lot of questions.
“We take this news as negative,” he wrote, “as it likely means the company is gearing up for a proxy contest.”