Yahoo's Frontal Loeb
Cox, Rob, Newsweek
Byline: Rob Cox
Hell hath no fury like a hedgie scorned.
When the clouds descended on the slopes at Davos one Saturday in January, Dan Loeb called it quits and headed for the gym. The poor visibility, the hedge-fund manager told me, wasn't letting him ski hard enough to get his heart rate up.
Today it's Loeb who has pulses racing across corporate America. The 50-year-old Third Point founder, who has been rattling the cages of companies for years, has gone mainstream with his acidic brand of investor activism. Rather than picking on obscure small companies, he has gone for a big, well-known one: Yahoo. Having gobbled up nearly 6 percent of the $19 billion Internet group's stock, Loeb is pressing for a bigger say at the company by lobbying for four seats on its board.
There's nothing particularly novel with this approach, known on Wall Street as a proxy fight. It's a path forged by activist investors like billionaire Carl Icahn and Pershing Square's Bill Ackman. But Loeb's tilt at Yahoo is unusually acrimonious. Two weeks ago Loeb outed Yahoo chief executive Scott Thompson for claiming in his corporate biography that he had received a bachelor's degree in computer science when he hadn't--a goof the company initially called "inadvertent."
Whatever the semantics, Loeb revealed a glaring deficiency at one of America's bigger companies. …