Is Yahoo a Model for HP?


The markets are fairly flat this morning. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.03% as of 10:10 a.m. EST, while the broader S&P 500 is down 0.29%.

Fiscal-cliff watch
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met Thursday evening for the second time in five days in an effort to advance negotiations over the fiscal cliff. However, it's difficult to imagine what advances they can make when both sides appear absolutely steadfast on the issue of raising tax rates on top earners. With Mr. Obama waging an effective public-relations campaign on this front, polls indicating that a majority of Americans support tax hikes at the top, and some Republicans publicly breaking ranks on the issue, my sense is that it's only a matter of time before Boehner (or his successor) is forced to concede this point.

The micro view
Yahoo! is losing two board members and gaining one -- Max Levchin, the co-founder and former chief technology officer of PayPal, the online payment company that was ultimately sold to eBay. Yahoo now has 11 board members, all but one of whom joined this year, and a new CEO, Marissa May, who joined in July.

Meanwhile, in an emailed statement yesterday, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker says HP's board shares responsibility for the disastrous Autonomy acquisition he spearheaded. He's absolutely right -- which is unfortunate for current HP CEO Meg Whitman, who was on the board at the time. There's no question that HP could use a board shakeup and possibly a new CEO. Much of the change at Yahoo! came at the impetus of activist investor Dan Loeb. HP already has an activist investor in place: Ralph Whitworth of Relational Investors joined the board in 2011. What is he waiting for?

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Alex Dumortier, CFA has no positions in the stocks mentioned above; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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