Yahoo gives board seats to Icahn to avert shareholder fight

Yahoo averted a showdown with rabble-rousing investor Carl Icahn by giving him three seats on its board of directors in a truce that still leaves the door open for a possible sale to Microsoft, an Associated Press report said.

The compromise spares Yahoo from more bickering with Icahn, an acerbic billionaire who had spent the past two months spearheading a rebellion to replace the internet company's entire board in retaliation for its rejection of Microsoft's €29.8 billion (US$47.5 billion) takeover bid in May, the report said.

The duel had been scheduled to culminate in a shareholder vote at Yahoo's August 1 annual meeting.

It now appears there will be fewer fireworks at that gathering, although some Yahoo shareholders are still expected to vent about the board's inability to get a deal done with Microsoft after six months of wrangling.

The main order of business will be the cease-fire giving Icahn three of the 11 seats on Yahoo's board, which will be expanded to make the deal possible.

Eight of Yahoo's current nine directors will be retained, leaving the company's current regime _ headed by chairman Roy Bostock and CEO Jerry Yang _ in the driver's seat.

Robert Kotick, the CEO of video game maker Activision Blizzard and a Yahoo director for five years, will surrender his seat as part of the agreement.

But the compromise, negotiated over the weekend, doesn't necessarily settle Yahoo's fate, which has been unclear since Microsoft made its first unsolicited offer in January.

Icahn, who owns a 5% stake in Yahoo, emphasized he still believes a sale of all or part of Yahoo may still be the best way for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company to lift its sagging stock price.

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