Icahn takes his seat at Yahoo table

Yahoo's reconstituted board is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday, with activist member Carl Icahn committed to renewing the pressure for a deal with Microsoft.

Mr Icahn, the billionaire investor, and two allies were elected after Yahoo's annual meeting on August 1 in a deal that ended a proxy fight he had led to unseat the board.

"Yahoo is a really great company but I think they have to do something with Microsoft or Google is going to kill them," he told CNBC television on Friday.

However, his first chance to influence such decisions comes as Yahoo is about to begin an advertising deal with Google and Jerry Yang, chief executive, is scheduled to advance his strategy for a standalone Yahoo.

Yahoo's controversial advertising partnership with Google is due to go live by Thursday. An agreement they signed in June - ending Microsoft's interest in the company - required the arrangement to be activated within 105 days.

The agreement, where Google will place some of the advertisements on Yahoo's search results pages, has led to scrutiny by the European Commission and has been the subject of complaints from US advertisers to the Department of Justice and from the World Association of Newspapers.

While the board meeting may discuss the opposition to the deal and the chances of an antitrust investigation, both parties appear determined to go ahead.

Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive, said last week he was committed to the deal, although he put a date of October on the launch.

Jerry Yang will address advertising executives in New York on Wednesday in the major Advertising Week event. He will push Yahoo's Amp platform, designed to improve the efficiency of placing adverts on Yahoo and partners' networks.

Yahoo is also understood to be still in talks with Time Warner over a combination with its AOL online service.

Without naming Yahoo specifically, Jeffrey Bewkes, Time Warner chief executive, said last week all interested parties had been looking at "what kind of scale combination would improve the operating and strategic positioning of AOL and other internet players. That probably will get decided fairly soon".

Yahoo said on Friday: "As a policy, we don't comment on board activities," in response to a query about Tuesday's reported meeting.

Mr Icahn replaced Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard chief executive, on the Yahoo board and his nominees - former Viacom chief executive Frank Biondi, and former Nextel chief executive John Chapple - were appointed to an expanded 11-member board.

By Chris Nuttall

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