When Steve Ballmer walked away from the table on Saturday and withdrew Microsoft’s bid to acquire Yahoo, was this all part of his tactic to ensure that he ends up with Yahoo in the end? Without knowing who said what, this whole situation has turned into a silly game of “well Ballmer said this,” and “well Yang said that.” Ballmer said Yang was the one that wasn’t willing to negotiate while Yang says he was in fact willing to negotiate and $37 per share wasn’t the lowest he’d go. This whole thing is getting crazy, and it’s about to get even crazier if the negotiating re-starts between the two companies.
TechCrunch reported yesterday that Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock was authorized to call back Ballmer to re-start the negotiation process (why not Yang?). Tech Crunch’s Erick Schonfeld speculates that this could be why there was that small rally in Yahoo stock yesterday, which makes sense. Now that Microsoft has walked away, if Yahoo approached them to start negotiating again, we believe Microsoft would have an easier time of getting the price that they want at $33 per share, the ball would be in their court.
This fiasco has left Yang is in the hot seat and he needs to find a way to please some of the major shareholders who are currently upset that he didn’t reach an agreement. According to The New York Times, two of Yahoo’s largest shareholders were willing to sell for around $34 per share and they’re not happy with Yang. Gordon Crawford who is the portfolio manager for the largest Yahoo shareholder said, “I am extremely angry at Jerry Yang and the so-called independent board.” As you can imagine, he’s not the only one angry and there’s been speculation that litigation from some of the shareholders is coming. Yikes!
But now we turn to Bill Gates who in a press conference in Tokyo this morning, said “a lot of effort” was put into the talks with Yahoo and Microsoft has decided that the two companies would be better off if they pursued “independent paths.” Will Microsoft be able to take on Google independently or will they end up with Yahoo in the end anyways?