Sunday, May 11, 2008

Microsoft: Don't expect a Yahoo deal, at least for now

Microsoft: Don't expect a Yahoo deal, at least for now

A Microsoft executive has thrown cold water on hopes that the company would try again with Yahoo, and sources indicate the company has released its proxy slate of would-be Yahoo directors.

During a tour of company executives in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday, Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie told Reuters that Microsoft considers its efforts to acquire Yahoo over, and that the company had moved on to what he termed as "Plan B."

Those plans essentially are a continuation of what Microsoft had already been doing: strengthening its online presence, and attempting to catch up to Yahoo and Google in the battle for search.

He would not completely rule out a reconsideration if Yahoo would approach it and say it would consider Microsoft's top offer, which stood at $33 per share. Microsoft is not expecting that to happen, however.

Two weeks ago, Microsoft assembled a high-power slate of proxy directors for nomination to Yahoo's board, in the event such a nomination was necessary to carry out the will of its shareholders to merge with Microsoft. That slate reportedly included former and current high-level executives with such firms as Nextel Partners and Adelphia.

In what many took as an indication that a proxy fight will not happen, it has been widely reported that these would-be directors were given their release by Microsoft earlier this week. Those directors would be free to join any other shareholder-led proxy battle, which is already underway, though it looks like Microsoft would not offer official support in the matter.

But as Silicon Valley Insider blogger -- and former infamous trader -- Henry Blodget believes, the release of the proxy slate was just a formality, an indication that Microsoft will not attempt a hostile bid at this time. Such a move might actually pave the way, he implied, for a later, non-hostile in the future -- presumably for a much lower amount.

A deadline for nominations for the board of directors comes on May 15. While shareholders are working to have an opposition slate set up by then, its not clear if they would be able to do so by the deadline.


  • Steve Ballmer’s letter to Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang
  • Microsoft drops $50 billion bid to acquire Yahoo