♦ The markets were down sharply yesterday as investors worried about the government's $700 billion bailout and lawmakers squabbled over the specifics. More will be revealed today when Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and SEC chair Christopher Cox discuss the plan in more detail in front of the Senate. [NYT, WSJ, WSJ, Marketwatch]
♦ The SEC's new short-selling rules have been generating plenty of questions and complaints the past few days. Now the SEC plans to revise a number of the rules. [Dealbook, WSJ, NYP]
♦ Nomura is close to acquiring the European operations of Lehman Brothers, a day after the Japanese bank snagged Lehman's Asian operations for $225 million. [WSJ]
♦ The Times' Sorkin: "Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.'s $700 billion proposal to bail out Wall Street is both the biggest rescue and the most amazing power grab in the history of the American economy. [NYT]
♦ Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have won approval to become bank holding companies, which will give them greater access to federal funds and also put them under tighter oversight and regulation. [WSJ, NYP]
♦ After suspending talks with Wachovia over the weekend, Morgan Stanley announced this morning that it is selling a 10-20 percent stake to Japan's largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ. [WSJ, Bloomberg]
♦ The proposed $700 billion bailout package turned into a political football this weekend. [WSJ, NYT]
♦ Nomura will pay $225 million for Lehman's Asian operations. [WSJ]
♦ After last week's wild ride, everyone is bracing for another eventful week on Wall Street. [NYT]
Bill Miller, the powerful Legg Mason fund manager who at last count controled 5.4 percent of all Yahoo shares, just became a little less powerful. He's lost a client, Massachusett's $50.6 billion pension fund, which held a board meeting Wednesday and voted to transfer $1.4 billion of holdings managed by Legg Mason to rival State Street Global Advisors. Miller was a vocal advocate for a Yahoo-Microsoft merger — one that would have paid his clients a 62 percent premium on their Yahoo shares and maybe have kept their billions with Legg Mason. (Photo by AP/Pizac)
There will be no proxy fight at Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting this August 1. Today, Yahoo and corporate raider Carl Icahn agreed to end the fight by awarding Icahn three seats on an expanded, 11-member board. Icahn, who owns 5 percent of Yahoo, told the Wall Street Journal he still wants Yahoo to sell — either the whole company or just its search business at the right price — but that "I share the view that Yahoo's valuable collection of assets positions it well to continue expanding its online leadership and enhancing returns to stockholders."
Legg Mason portfolio manager Bill Miller controls 4.4 percent of all Yahoo shares and he's formally declared his plans to vote them for CEO Jerry Yang and the current Yahoo board. In a statement, Legg Mason says it doesn't buy corporate raider Carl Icahn's claim that Microsoft would only offer to buy the company again if it could negotiate with a new board.
Google cofounder Larry Page, Yahoo president Sue Decker, ex-Yahoo CEO Terry Semel, and Legg Mason fund manager Bill Miller, who owns large stakes in Google and Yahoo, sat and talked at a corner table at the Sun Valley Lodge, the site of Allen & Co.'s power media conference in Idaho. Page and Miller reportedly dominated the conversation. [DealBook]
$30 billion hedge fund Paulson & Co. has released filings to show it owns 3.4 percent of Yahoo shares and intends to support Carl Icahn's bid to replace the company's board. Combined with Icahn's 4.3 percent share, Legg Mason fund manager Bill Miller's 5 percent share and Capital Research fund manager Gordon Crawford's 6 percent share, at least 18 percent of Yahoo's ownership now favors displacing the company's board with directors more amenable to a Microsoft merger. Capital Research funds beyond Crawford's control own another 11 percent of the company, raising that total to at least 29 percent. Shareholder activist Eric Jackson says investors owning another 3.2 million Yahoo shares favor a Microsoft merger as well. CEO Jerry Yang and chairman Roy Bostock can write all the letters they want. There's only one holdup: Getting Microsoft back to the table. (Photo by Simon Grossi)
Sending angry letters, going public with a hostile offer — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer played rough with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and the Yahoo board during merger negotiations. Yahoo shareholders, dispirited by the failure of those negotiations, want corporate raider Carl Icahn to play rougher. Icahn purchased $1.3 billion worth of Yahoo only after large Yahoo shareholders contacted him and urged him to become involved, a source familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. The man controlling the second largest portion of Yahoo shares, portfolio manager Bill Miller of Legg Mason, told the Journal he's glad Icahn joined the fray. "To the extent he can get the parties back to the table I'd be all in favor of that," Miller said. (Photo by AP/Mark Lennihan)
Yahoo will hold its annual shareholders' meeting on July 3. Investors angry over how Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang the Yahoo board handled merger negotiations with Microsoft — paging Gordon Crawford and Bill Miller — have until next Thursday to do so by submitting an alternate slate of directors to replace the current board. Wall Street analysts don't expect it to happen, reports the Financial Times. Activist shareholder Eric Jackson, the president of Ironfire Capital, isn't listening to them, however.
Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang refuses to negotiate with Microsoft, but Yahoo's largest shareholders aren't so coy. Take Legg Mason portfolio manager Bill Miller's posturing in today's Wall Street Journal, for example. Miller, responsible for the second largest stake in Yahoo, today called Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's weekend ultimatum to the Yahoo board a "blunder."
Word now comes that Liberty, former cable baron John Malone's company, has opportunistically paid $340 million for 14 million shares in Barry Diller's IAC, raising its stake to 30 percent. IAC, too, repurchased 6 million shares at the same time. That means that Diller must have begrudgingly consented to the sale; at the same time, he reached an agreement that prevented Malone from taking a bigger stake in the online conglomerate. But who was the seller?