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Yahoo's board to meet: Will Icahn's gang make a difference?

Yahoo's board will meet this week and billionaire investor Carl Icahn and his two directors--former Viacom CEO Frank Biondi and John Chapple, former CEO of Nextel Partners--will make their debut.According to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo's board will have dinner Monday night and meet Tuesday to discuss the company's prospects, including talks with AOL and regulatory hurdles from a search deal with Google.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Yahoo's board will meet this week and billionaire investor Carl Icahn and his two directors--former Viacom CEO Frank Biondi and John Chapple, former CEO of Nextel Partners--will make their debut.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo's board will have dinner Monday night and meet Tuesday to discuss the company's prospects, including talks with AOL and regulatory hurdles from a search deal with Google.

What's really unclear is whether Icahn--who may not even show--will have much of an impact on Yahoo. Sure, Icahn, who owns 5 percent of Yahoo, can push for change and did win a settlement to head off a proxy war. And Biondi and Chapple may be a disruptive force, but a Microsoft purchase is off the table, an AOL deal could be a disaster and Yahoo shares remain on life support. Icahn can push Yahoo to pursue a partnership with Microsoft, but it's not clear the software giant is interested anymore. Anyone can say Yahoo should do something, but can you prod the company to execute?

In other words, Yahoo's new board members are outnumbered. Yahoo has been making more than a few interesting changes. Yahoo is opening up its home page and its platform.  Meanwhile, Yahoo has a ton of eyeballs. But I liken this Yahoo situation to what happened at Motorola. Icahn got his board seat there too. He even got most of the changes he wanted too. None of it mattered all that much.

Also see: Yahoo, Icahn settle proxy fight: Assessing winners and losers

Why? Investors just stopped caring much about Motorola. Yahoo is suffering from the same affliction. Yahoo is facing an apathy crisis and it's doubtful that Icahn can get Wall Street to care again. Here's Yahoo's year-to-date chart:

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