Pulling Up Stakes

By Gross, Daniel | Newsweek, July 24, 2013 | Go to article overview

Pulling Up Stakes


Gross, Daniel, Newsweek


Byline: Daniel Gross

Dan Loeb turned Yahoo around--then turned himself a nice profit.

Dan Loeb, the yoga-practicing, rail-thin, smart-aleck, New York-based hedge-fund manager, isn't much of a technologist. But he has engineered something of a turnaround at one of Silicon Valley's iconic, long-suffering companies. In the summer of 2011, Loeb started buying shares at Yahoo, the portal that had soared to prominence in the 1990s but was struggling for an identity and growth in the Web 2.0 era. With the stock stuck in the low teens, the company was going through CEOs with the same frequency that Don Draper goes through mistresses on Mad Men. Loeb had a relatively simple plan, which he outlined in blunt letters to the board: Yahoo should liberate the value in its Asian assets (stakes it held in Chinese and Japanese Internet companies), return cash to shareholders, and get back into the business of launching new products.

In the spring of 2012, Loeb started throwing his weight around. He discovered that newly appointed CEO Scott Thompson, a former PayPal executive, had fudged his resume and stretched the truth by claiming to have a degree in computer science. (That's a big no-no in tech land. …

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