Yahoo recount paints different picture

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A recount of the Yahoo shareholder vote is changing the board's outlook for the worse..

The company conducted a recount at the behest of investors and found problems with the original tally, which had failed to correctly report votes by shareholders with stock amounts eight digits or higher.

Originally, the votes were recorded as being overwhelmingly in favor of the board, with no member having more than 22 per cent of votes withheld.

Under the new count, investors appear to have far less confidence in the board. Yang's percentage of withheld votes jumped from 14.6 per cent to 33.7 per cent.

Other Yahoo board members had similarly discouraging figures with 39.6 per cent withheld on voting for chairman Roy Bostock, while board members Ronald Burkle and Arthur Kern saw their withheld numbers jump to 37.9 per cent and 31.7 per cent, respectively.

The company said that the errors did not change the outcome of the election and would not affect any of the other items voted on at the meeting.

The vote does, however, paint a very different picture in how shareholders view the board in the aftermath of its battles with Carl Icahn and Microsoft.

The company spent much of the first half of the year in acquisition talks with Microsoft, only to be rebuffed when the Redmond software giant said the asking price was too high.

The board's failure to cut a deal with Microsoft drew the anger of shareholders, who accused the directors of deliberately sabotaging the acquisition talks and putting their own distaste for Microsoft ahead of the greater good of the company and its stockholders.

This in turn led to a takeover effort lead by Icahn. The investor activist publicly criticised the board and vowed to replace its members and remove Yang from his chief executive post.

The company settled with Icahn in July and the preliminary results suggested that shareholders were satisfied with the deal and were firmly behind the board.

The recount, however, shows that shareholders may have far less confidence in the board and could put Yang back in the hot seat.

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