The Microhoo saga has attracted a who's who list of investors to Yahoo in a big bet that Carl Icahn will force some sort of "shareholder value."
The latest investing star to enter the Microhoo sweepstakes is T. Boone Pickens, a legendary oil investor, has bought 10 million shares for giggles. Pickens was on CNBC talking up oil--$150 a barrel woo hoo--when he happened to mention that he bought a few Yahoo shares. And why not? Everyone wants in on this Microhoo act. After all, Icahn is a man with a plan (Techmeme), an alternate board, 59 million shares and Microsoft is coming back to the acquisition table probably too early. What's not to love?
Shareholder value is often a code word for a breakup. Nevermind that a breakup may not make a damn bit of sense in the long run. But hey in the short run there's value--allegedly. We've seen this dance before with breakups. IAC is a walking breakup and if you questioned the average shareholder he would be hard pressed to point to any value courtesy of media titan Barry Diller.
Color me skeptical about this Yahoo dance. Microsoft apparently wants to buy Yahoo's search business. Yahoo would spin off its Alibaba holdings, which at last check were growing rapidly. What's left for Yahoo? It shuts Icahn and Microsoft up and focuses on what's left. It could work I suppose, but it does sound like a bit of a shell game. Or maybe a big game of poker. In any case, I doubt anyone--except for Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang--has a time horizon of more than a few months.