Shiho Fukada  /  AP
"I think that Yahoo management was pathetic," T. Boone Pickens told a newspaper about handling of an attempted acquisition by Microsoft.
updated 7/29/2008 2:21:22 PM ET 2008-07-29T18:21:22

Billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens has sold all of his holdings in Yahoo Inc. in a pique over the way the Internet company's management handled sales talks with Microsoft Corp.

Pickens told the San Francisco Chronicle that he sold all 10 million of his Yahoo shares at a loss, because he grew frustrated with the company's repeated rebuffs of Microsoft's advances.

"I think that Yahoo management was pathetic," Pickens told the Chronicle in a story published Tuesday.

Pickens declined to quantify his losses, but he acquired his stake in mid-May when Yahoo was trading between $24 and $28 per share.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Yahoo's stock price hasn't climbed above $22.50 for the past week, meaning Pickens probably lost tens of millions of dollars. Yahoo shares dipped 2 cents to $20.10 in Tuesday afternoon trading.

Other dismayed shareholders are expected to blast Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang and his fellow board members at the company's annual meeting Friday.

Many shareholders are infuriated because Yang, acting on behalf of the board, rejected Microsoft's offer to buy Yahoo for $33 per share in early May. Microsoft withdrew the bid after Yang sought $37 per share, a price Yahoo's stock hasn't reached in 2 1/2 years.

Yahoo's market value is now stuck about $20 billion below Microsoft's last offer for the entire company.

Microsoft also has twice offered to buy Yahoo's online search operations in more complex deals that also were rejected.

Pickens invested in Yahoo largely as a bet on activist investor Carl Icahn, who had launched a campaign to oust Yahoo's board in hopes of reviving Microsoft's takeover bid.

After Icahn was able to persuade Microsoft only to make an offer for a part of Yahoo, he negotiated a truce that will give him and two of his allies seats on Yahoo's expanded board.

Although eight of the nine Yahoo directors who spurned Microsoft will remain on the board, Icahn is still holding out hope that he can help negotiate a sale.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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