Is Yang Really Gone from Yahoo?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Yahoo! ( YHOO) co-founder Jerry Yang resigned from the company's board of directors to pursue outside interests amid mounting speculation about his next move.

Yang, who was criticized by shareholders as being an obstacle to a sale of the company, could still continue to go after Yahoo! himself as an outside suitor.

"Does this mean Yang can have increased flexibility to pursue Yahoo! as an unrelated party by himself or with another private equity firm?" said Herman Leung, an analyst with Susquehanna International Group. "It'll be interesting to see what he wants to do now that he's not on the board anymore."

Yang has reportedly been talking to private equity firms about taking control of Yahoo! following the ouster of former CEO Carol Bartz.

Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb criticized Yang and other board members for failing to evaluate "true strategic alternative bids" for the company and demanded two board seats for his Third Point Capital.

Analysts say it's more likely Yahoo! would be able to complete a sale of the company to a third party with Yang out of the way.

"Yang had interests of his own about where to take Yahoo!, and it's more likely he'd stand as a roadblock to any potential transaction," said Morningstar analyst Rick Summer.

Rumored acquirers for Yahoo! include Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Microsoft and private equity firm Silver Lake.

In a letter to Yahoo! board Chairman Roy Bostock, Yang said he is "enthusiastic" about the appointment of new CEO Scott Thompson, who joined the company earlier this month from PayPal.

Yang co-founded Yahoo! in 1995, just a year before the company went public. He took over as CEO from Terry Semel in 2007 before stepping down just a year later. Bartz then replaced Yang in an attempt to turn around the struggling Internet company.

Yahoo! declined to comment on the speculation surrounding Yang's next move. Yang has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The Internet giant will report its fourth quarter earnings next Tuesday.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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