updated 04:55 pm EST, Fri February 1, 2008
MS 2 Day Yahoo Ultimatum
Microsoft may have made its Yahoo buyout offer public as part of a threat to push Yahoo into a deal, says tech journalist Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal. While Microsoft has characterized its discussions with Yahoo as "off and on" and suggested only that Yahoo turned down an offer roughly a year earlier, sources inside Yahoo claim that Microsoft publicly proposed the now $44.6 billion buyout immediately after the company's underperforming earnings report on Tuesday; the public statement fulfilled a threat to make the offer public if Yahoo did not respond within two days, the insiders report.
Additionally, the suddenness of the approach is said to be triggering a backlash at Yahoo, which described the deal as "unsolicited" in an official statement. The search engine giant is allegedly investigating "any other option but Microsoft" as a possible partner or buyout candidate, Swisher says. The purported tip also suggests that Yahoo chief Jerry Yang has rejected multiple private attempts in the past and that other top staffers at the company consider Microsoft's move a thinly-veiled hostile takeover.
Neither Microsoft nor Yahoo has responded to the allegations, though a confirmation of the statement would cast doubt on the likelihood of a friendly deal and cloud Microsoft's attempts to suggest the deal would provide a mutual benefit in fighting Google for web advertising and application marketshare. Various reports have noted that Microsoft may resort to using a proxy firm to force a deal on its behalf.