Chief Executive Jerry Yang and the company's board met with subdued hostility from shareholders during Friday's annual meeting but escaped any threats to their positions, with all eight members handily winning shareholder approval.
For the most part, the meeting went down quietly, with a roomful of empty seats and only a few vocal critics stepping up to the microphone to voice their disappointment in the way Yang and the board handled a potential merger deal with
, as well as the company's overall performance in the Internet space.
Chairman Roy Bostock walked shareholders through the negotiating process between Yahoo! and Microsoft, insisting that the board had the interest of investors in mind all along.
He accused Microsoft of being unresponsive to Yahoo!'s concerns about regulatory issues that might come up if a merger were to take place. He also described Microsoft as being the one that ultimately walked away from a deal.
Microsoft immediately shot back with a response.
"Yahoo! is attempting to rewrite history yet again with statements that are not supported by the facts," the company said in a statement.
Activist investor Eric Jackson, who had supported a deal with Microsoft, spared the board of any biting comments in regards to the failed merger during the question and answer portion of the meeting, except to accuse Yahoo! of overplaying its hand when it came time to negotiate.
Instead, he focused his criticism on Yahoo! President Sue Decker for serving on three other boards, and Bostock for continuing to sit on the company's compensation committee, for which he was criticized at last year's annual meeting.
Jackson called for Bostock to step down from the board if he again receives a high percentage of withhold votes as he did last year, to which Bostock responded he would not. Bostock ended up with 79.5% of the shareholder vote on Friday, with 20.5% withholding. That was better than the 66% favorable votes he received last year.
Yang received shareholder approval by 85.4%. Board member Arthur Kern received the least amount of favorable votes but still pulled in a large majority, with 77.9% of shareholders approving his reelection, just behind Bostock.
Decker defended her position as a board member on
, saying that it did not take any attention away from her role at Yahoo!.
One shareholder complained that one-third of Yahoo!'s board did not bother to attend the annual meeting, generating applause from the room.
Indeed, the meeting drew very little interest from the shareholders themselves, attracting only about 125 out of a total of 400,000 in what turned out to be a decidedly mild-mannered gathering.
There was none of the drama that had been building up until last week, when billionaire investor Carl Icahn called off his proxy fight and agreed to settle for three board seats instead of gunning for nine.
Yang and Decker spent most of their time outlining their growth strategies for the company, which included building their revenue in search and display ads through new products and improved platforms, and trying to make Yahoo!'s home page the starting point for users.
Shareholders seemed to accept the company's plans with very little of the same grumbling seen in last year's meeting, which was followed days later with the resignation of then-CEO Terry Semel.
With the meeting now over, the board will hold onto its eight current members and will add Icahn as well as two other candidates from his proxy slate. The board's nominating and governance committee will have until Aug. 15 to make their final decision.
Shares of Yahoo! were down less than 1% to $19.84 in recent trading.