updated 10:30 am EDT, Mon July 7, 2008
Microsot Reexamines Yahoo
Microsoft will reconsider buying some or all of Yahoo if billionaire investor Carl Icahn's proposed board takeover by proxy of the search company is successful, the Windows developer said in an official statement Monday. Microsoft now says it's willing to entertain a "major transaction" to buy some or all of Yahoo if the latter's board is replaced with Icahn's takeover-friendly choice of directors, which includes the investor himself.
In its message, Microsoft declines to mention prices or other details to prevent itself from unfairly influencing an upcoming shareholder vote on August 1st but says that there would be "large financial guarantees" if it bought just the search component of Yahoo. Icahn has insisted that any buyout that doesn't include the whole company be valued more closely to a full takeover.
The statement puts renewed pressure on Yahoo's board and company chief Jerry Yang in particular, as the group has recently claimed that Microsoft remained uninterested in a deal after formal talks broke off in June. The statement now confirms Yahoo's executives as the only perceived obstacles to a deal and may give support to Icahn during the August 1st shareholder meeting that lets stock owners vote in a new board.
Yahoo's existing board is currently resting its hopes on a deal with AOL that would both give it a stronger position and sour any potential deals with Microsoft.