Yahoo Reveals Voting Miscount

    August 6, 2008

Yahoo was almost ready to put its recent problems behind it; the company had fought off Microsoft, brought Carl Icahn onboard, and survived the annual meeting with its board intact.  Only now it turns out that the shareholder vote didn’t go nearly so well as was first reported.

Initial results indicated that 79.5 percent of shares were voted in support of Roy Bostock, and 85.4 percent of shares backed Jerry Yang.  The revised percentages showing approval: 60.4 and 66.3, respectively, with Ron Burkle, Arthur Kern, and Gary Wilson also losing significant amounts of support.

Jerry Yang
 Jerry Yang

Although this isn’t enough to get any board members cut, the development is at once suspicious and, for Yahoo, humiliating.  Since major investors’ displeasure was well known, the company looks either dishonest or stupid for allowing the first set of numbers to be made public.  Its main defense so far has been a form of "it’s not our fault."

An official release stated, "Yahoo! Inc. was informed today by Corporate Election Services, the inspector of elections . . . that Corporate Election Services was notified this morning by Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., an independent voting intermediary that processes proxies on behalf of banks, brokers and institutions, of errors made by Broadridge in reporting votes at the meeting.  Specifically, as Broadridge publicly disclosed earlier today, when Broadridge reported voting results for ‘withholds’, a truncation error occurred in reporting share numbers that exceeded eight digits."

However, even assuming this is true, it’s likely that Yahoo has lost still more support due to the whole mess.