Yahoo Activist Daniel Loeb’s Next Battle


Will hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb do to Obama what he did to Yahoo?

After waging battle with Yahoo’s board for months, the activist shareholder and Third Point LLC founder has now completed what amounts to total regime change at the company. Having upended the company’s board and helped oust its last CEO, Scott Thompson, Loeb played a key behind the scenes role in recruiting Google’s Marissa Mayer as Yahoo’s new CEO, AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher reported Tuesday.

Now Loeb and his new Yahoo CEO recruit Mayer share the goal of boosting Yahoo’s fortunes. But they find themselves on opposite sides of the 2012 US presidential race.

Loeb this month co-hosted a $25,000-person Hamptons fundraiser for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va), the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mayer, 37, by contrast, “is an active Democratic fundraiser,” who hosted a 2010 fundraiser at her Palo Alto home for President Barack Obama, “and has given to Obama annually since 2007,” Politico reported Tuesday.

Mayer “bundled between $100,000 and $200,000 for Obama for America and Obama Victory Fund 2012, according to the Obama campaign,” Politico wrote, while giving some $100,000 to the DNC over the past two years.

Loeb wasn’t always anti-Obama.The Third Point LLC founder is a registered Democrat, who “was one of the biggest Obama fund-raisers in 2008, rounding up $200,000 for him, according to campaign-finance records,” the Wall Street Journal reported in April 2011. He has also supported marriage equality initiatives in New York state. But Loeb became deeply disenchanted with Obama’s tough posture towards Wall Street, the paper reported.

“Since Mr. Obama’s inauguration, Mr. Loeb has given $468,000 to Republican candidates and the GOP, and just $8,000 to Democrats,” the Journal wrote, citing from a late 2010 email Loeb circulated to Wall Street friends: “I am sure, if we are really nice and stay quiet, everything will be alright and the president will become more centrist and that all his tough talk is just words.”

(Since the Journal report was published in April 2011, Loeb gave $50,000 to the American Crossroads SuperPAC in December 2011, FEC filings show. In September, he donated $20,000 to the GOP Leading the Way 2011 PAC, supporting Senate GOP candidates, according to FEC records.)

Loeb has also become a key funder of the GOP-aligned Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), headed by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, according to 2010 FEC  disclosures  reported by Think Progress. ECI last month took out a television ad buy running in New York and DC markets. The ad features a video admonishing President Obama that “it’s time to act” against Iran.

“President Obama has spent four years talking, Iran has spent four years building,” the narrator on the ECI ad, above, says. “Obama is still talking, and Iran has enough fuel for five nuclear bombs… It’s time to act — before it’s too late.”


(Disclosure, this reporter worked for Yahoo in 2011-2012.)
(Top Photo: Daniel S. Loeb, founder of Third Point LLC, participates in a panel discussion during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus. Lower photo: Marissa Mayer, then Google vice president, unveils “Google Instant” during a news conference in San Francisco, California September 8, 2010.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith.)