Greenlight Capital suit may succeed on merits, but no injunction yet
In an initial hearing on the lawsuit between David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital and Apple, where the former party is attempting to prevent a shareholder vote on a "preferred stock" proposal, a judge has sided with Einhorn and found that Apple could be breaking US Securities & Exchange Commission rules by "bundling" three issues into one shareholder voting item. At the same time, the judge didn't indicate that he couldn't find any "irreparable harm" in the proposal, lessening chances of an injunction.
Claims 'roadblock' action designed to benefit only Greenlight
Apple filed its formal response to the lawsuit initiated by Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn and blasted the complaint as being without merit and nothing less than an attempt to hold shareholders "hostage" by forcing Apple to acquiesce to a specific plan for the issuing of preferred shares that would primarily benefit Greenlight Capital. Having promised to review Einhorn's plan, the company found that Greenlight's proposal was self-serving, and that Einhorn himself referred to it as a "roadblock."
Could boost stock price and avoid cap-gains increases
Based on the moves by several other companies including Costco -- or perhaps a bit of wishful thinking by shareholders -- Apple may be contemplating a special one-off dividend to help avoid any potential investor unrest in light of likely increases in the capital gains tax rate. Further reducing the company's enormous cash pile, which is growing faster than Apple can spend it on dividends or stock buybacks, might accomplish a hat trick of saving shareholders money, reducing its own tax liabilities and boosting its own share price.
Daniel Loeb owns 5.8 percent of company, wants to shake up board
Daniel Loeb, a major Yahooshareholder, is accusing CEO Scott Thompson of lying about his credentials. Loeb claims that Thompson does not have a bachelor's degree in computer science from Boston's Stonehill College. Yahoo's board was angrily informed of the discrepancy by Loeb on Thursday after they informed shareholders that Loeb wasn't fit to run the company.
Proposals spearheaded by activist group As You Sow
Apple's board is urging its shareholders to reject several proposals focused on environmental efforts. The company's annual proxy statement includes the board's recommendations for votes on seven proposals. Proposal No. 6, which will be submitted by John Powers from the activist group As You Sow, seeks to establish a sustainability report detailing information such as greenhouse gas emissions and toxic materials, while addressing employee and product safety.
Apple board reassuring
Apple's board members at the annual shareholders meeting tried to boost investor confidence in the company despite Steve Jobs' absence. "I'm confident in the future of the company," said COO Tim Cook, the executive filling in for the CEO during his leave of absence. Cook also reminded the audience that Jobs still plans on returning to company after June.
Yahoo clarifies deals
Yahoo CEO Jerry Wang and Chairman Roy Bostock on Wednesday sent a letter to shareholders explaining the June 12th deal with Google, as well as clarifying its negotiations with Microsoft, who recently made a bid for the search and advertising giant. Yahoo writes that the "carefully structured" agreement with Google will add $250 to $450 million in incremental operating cash flow for the company during its first year of operation.
Shareholders question Jobs
Apple shareholders today produced a plethora of questions for company executives at its annual shareholders meeting in Cupertino, CA. Taking that stand was CEO Steve Jobs, COO Tim Cook, and Ron Johnson -- Apple's head of retail operations. Jobs and others answered questions regarding the prospect of entering into direct competition with Microsoft in the PC gaming industry, potential .Mac expansion, iTunes media availability, the idea of a successor to Steve Jobs, iPhone availability in Asia, Macs in the business realm, Apple retail stores, and more, according to AppleInsider.
Apple shareholder meeting
Apple shareholders today approved a non-binding resolution requesting the board of directors to provide shareholders with input on executive compensation. The proposal required a majority of votes from shareholders to pass, while another shareholder proposal to create a board committee on sustainability and environmental protection was rejected, according to News.com. Scott Adams, who represents the AFL-CIO, asked shareholders to demand a "say on pay" as a result of uncontrolled executive compensation.
Apple's cash reserve
Apple's cash reserve of $18.5 billion could benefit shareholders in a big way moving forward, according to BusinessWeekcolumnist Arik Hesseldahl. The cash amounts to $21 for each share of company stock, and Hesseldahl believes Apple should return some of that money to shareholders in the form of a buyback. "The time to buy back Apple stock is now," he writes. Shares are 40 percent below a historic high, and Wall Street is focusing on concerns that Apple will suffer as the economy slumps.
Yahoo board torn
Yahoo's board of directors is torn between those seeking profit and others who would make an emotional decision to reject Microsoft's buyout attempt, according to sources cited by a report from the New York Post online. Yahoo chief Jerry Yang and several followers are allegedly seeking an alternative to Microsoft's takeover bid of $44.6 million, and could act out of emotion rather than their fiduciary duty to the company's shareholders. "The emotional part of Yang would rather do anything but sell to Microsoft, but he doesn't have the cards to come up with a value-creating, competitive alternative for shareholders," said one source.
Yahoo sued by shareholders
Microsoft's attempted acquisition of Yahoo! has gotten a bit more contentious. Bloomberg reports that a group of Yahoo shareholders have jointly filed a lawsuit against the search company for rejecting the $45 billion offer from Microsoft. Michigan's Wayne County Employees' Retirement System, which owns a relatively small 13,000 block of shares of Yahoo claims in the suit that the company failed to enter into substantial negotiations with Microsoft. "The board of directors is continually evaluating all of its strategic options. Our board believes the Microsoft proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo," Yahoo spokesperson Diana Wong told Bloomberg.