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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Category: Corporate governance
December 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Microsoft board approves dividend, makes diversity tweak to governance language

Redmond continues to ship its dimes and pennies to the investing public. Microsoft’s board on Wednesday declared a cash dividend of 31 cents, the second straight quarterly dividend at that figure. The dividend will be paid on March 12, to shareholders as of Feb. 19. Microsoft executives at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday were asked why they, in September,…


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Financial | Topics: board, dividend, jesse jackson

November 14, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Microsoft reiterates opposition to increased shareholder board nominees

Microsoft says a proposal to give shareholders a greater say in candidates for the company’s board of directors could disrupt the company’s operations.

In a filing released just shy of two weeks before the company’s Dec. 3 shareholders meeting, Microsoft provided a slate of data packaged to show the company is under good stewardship and bringing in new blood to the board of directors.

An proposal up for vote at the meeting would give shareholders a greater say in board nominees. Provisions include allowing a single shareholder or a group of shareholders who’ve held a combined 3% of Microsoft stock for 3 years to nominate candidates numbering up to 40% of the board of directors.


Comments | More in Corporate governance | Topics: board, microsoft, shareholders meeting

February 23, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Microsoft lets 25 laid-off employees keep severance overpayment

After asking 25 laid-off Microsoft employees to return an overpayment of severance benefits, Microsoft’s top human resources executive decided to let them keep the money. Calling it a “unique circumstance,” Lisa Brummel, senior vice president of human resources, said the employees will not have to repay the overpayment, which ranged from a…


Comments | More in Compensation, Corporate culture, Corporate governance, Employee benefits, Microsoft layoffs

September 29, 2008 at 7:13 AM

On the radar: Microsoft proxy statement

I’m out of the office this week, so posting will be lighter than normal. But this site will not be dormant, so keep checking in. I have prepared a series of posts updating stories from the last year and pointing out upcoming events. My editor, Mark Watanabe, will also contribute links to interesting stories that pop this week and items from my colleague Brier Dudley.

For starters: Microsoft has filed each of its last four proxy statements between Sept. 20 and Oct. 4, so the annual SEC filing should arrive any day this week. (You can check for it here.)


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Employee benefits, Financial

September 25, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Microsoft tweaks executive compensation, amends bylaws

Microsoft executives will share in a new compensation plan worth up to $238 million $94.2 million, based on the company’s forecast for fiscal year 2009 revenue operating income. The new plan, announced this afternoon in a filing with the SEC, replaces the existing annual cash bonus and equity award programs for the company’s executive officers…


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Corporate organization, Employee benefits, Financial

September 22, 2008 at 7:42 AM

Microsoft authorizes debt, boosts dividend, extends share repurchases

For the first time, Microsoft is issuing significant corporate debt — up to $6 billion — as part of a broad set of financial changes announced this morning.

The company also increased the size of its dividend by 18 percent to 13 cents a share, payable Dec. 11 to shareholders of record Nov. 20.

Finally, Microsoft’s board of directors authorized the company to buyback $40 billion of its own stock in the next five years.

Many on Wall Street were looking for Microsoft’s board of directors to pull some of these financial levers to help juice the stock. The company’s shares were up about $1.09, more than 4.3 percent, in trading Monday to $26.25.


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Financial

August 6, 2008 at 9:29 AM

‘Significant’ data and storage announcement; buyback talk; Yahoo recount

Microsoft veep Ted Kummert will make a “significant” announcement relating to the company’s Data Platform and Storage Division at 10 a.m., a spokesman said. We’ll be covering the teleconference. (Update, 10:02 a.m.: The “significant” news is that Microsoft has released SQL Server 2008, its database and business intelligence server software.)

Meanwhile, Bloomberg is quoting top-rated software analyst Heather Bellini, who thinks Microsoft will rev up its share buyback engine in the coming months.


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Financial

February 15, 2008 at 9:24 AM

New York Post: Yahoo’s board of directors splitting

Yahoo’s board of directors could be starting to fragment, if a report in today’s New York Post is to be believed. A faction, including new Chairman Roy Bostock and billionaire Ron Burkle, is emerging in opposition to another group sympathetic to co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang’s desire to fight off the Microsoft bid, the Post reported this morning, quoting “one source close to the situation.”

“The emotional part of Yang would rather do anything but sell to Microsoft, but he doesn’t have the cards to come up with a value-creating, competitive alternative for shareholders,” the source said.

The Post writes that the Bostock contingent “is worried that the Yang group might act out of emotion rather than their fiduciary duty, thereby exposing the board to shareholder lawsuits.”

I discussed Microsoft’s options for pressing ahead, after the Yahoo board rejected the initial $44.6 billion offer on Monday, with Richard Rafferty, a corporate and securities lawyer with Dallas-based Strasburger & Price. Here’s a relevant part of our talk that didn’t make the print story:

Among other widely reported options, Rafferty suggested Microsoft could try to persuade Yahoo board members individually.

“I hate to say this, but Microsoft could take a divide and conquer-type approach,” he said, adding at the time that this was not a likely approach. “There’s nothing that keeps them from contacting individual directors. They don’t have to talk to the whole board.”

He added that if those board members are well advised, they will refuse to talk individually and channel all communications through Yang. “Now, that won’t stop the phone calls,” he said.

It’s also interesting that the Post’s tipster references concern about “exposing the board to shareholder lawsuits,” some of which have already emerged.


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Microsoft, Yahoo acquisition

February 12, 2008 at 4:01 PM

UW finance professor puts MSFT+YHOO in interesting context

University of Washington finance professor Jarrad Harford, who helped me outline Microsoft’s options after Yahoo’s board of directors rejected its $44.6 billion buyout offer Monday, has conducted interesting research relevant to two aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and this deal in particular. In one paper, he looked at how cash-rich companies fare when they…


Comments | More in Corporate governance, Financial, Yahoo acquisition