Yahoo! shareholders have until the end of the day Thursday (10 days after the announcement last week of the date of the shareholder meeting) in order to nominate candidates for Yahoo!'s board of directors. As discussed earlier, this short time was no accident, and puts the pressure on shareholders to get together and get organized, or find an high level investor willing to take the lead. If one were to take the lead, it would need to be someone with a large position, someone with the potential to make it larger, and someone not shy about stating their intentions? Who could it be? Any whales fit the bill?

Both CNBC and the WSJ are reporting that Carl Icahn may in fact be the vocal whale that disgruntled shareholders are looking for. Apparently Icahn is considering fighting for control of the company's board, with sources stating that Icahn may have acquired as many as 50 million shares of Yahoo!, or over 3.5% of the company. And of course, Icahn has the capital to acquire more if he wanted to. Again, the timing of the purchases is not totally clear, but it would explain somewhat how the stock has been propped up over the last few weeks.

This of course begs the question: Why does Icahn want control of the board? Does he really think that Microsoft will come back and offer $33 a share once again? Can he convince them to come back? Is there another strategic partner waiting in the wings? Does he want to integrate Yahoo! with Blockbuster and Circuit City? Just kidding about the last one ..... at least I hope. Seriously, other than Google or Microsoft, who could really partner with Yahoo! and add value, and would either Microsoft or Google, even if they were to partner, even pass anti-trust reviews? It is possible that there is a Time Warner / AOL connection, but again, the ability to add value is probably limited. It is really hard to see what his motivation is, other than believing he can get Microsoft back to the table with a +$30 offer, making a nice 20% or so profit in his shares. Otherwise, if it is not Microsoft, it is hard to see other integration possibilities that add value, just as it is hard to see how integrating Blockbuster and Circuit City together builds synergy. But then again, he is Carl Icahn, and he currently has a couple billion or more reason why he knows better than I do. Time will tell.