Carl Icahn says he likes Jerry Yang and notes the former Yahoo CEO is a "charismatic guy," but Yahoo needs to do a Microsoft search deal since the company can't afford to fight Google.
Icahn's remarks, made in an interview with Barron's (subscription required) a few days after he added to his Yahoo stake, doesn't reveal anything entirely new, but does indicate that full-blown Microsoft acquisition is off the table.
The Yahoo excerpts of note (most of the article focuses on the corporate debt markets primarily):
Icahn on Yahoo's board:
I'm on the board, and I certainly like some of the board members. They really take seriously what is happening and what should be done there, but I don't think some on the board are correct in their views. I've said this before: Yahoo! should make a deal with Microsoft as far as selling its search capability.
A search deal:
Microsoft has said publicly that they are not interested in buying the whole company, and I believe them. But they are interested in doing a deal on search, and we should pursue that.
The need for Yahoo search:
They would still be one of the top content companies; they are very good at that. Yahoo! would still have the search capability. So when you go to Yahoo!, you could still use the search function, but Microsoft would handle it. Microsoft can afford to fight Google better than Yahoo! can. That is, Microsoft has the resources to put in the billions of dollars on the technology for search it may take over the next decade.
I like Jerry. He is a charismatic guy, but let the past be the past.