updated 01:45 pm EST, Fri February 15, 2008
Yahoo sued by shareholders
Microsoft's attempted acquisition of Yahoo! has gotten a bit more contentious. Bloomberg reports that a group of Yahoo shareholders have jointly filed a lawsuit against the search company for rejecting the $45 billion offer from Microsoft. Michigan's Wayne County Employees' Retirement System, which owns a relatively small 13,000 block of shares of Yahoo claims in the suit that the company failed to enter into substantial negotiations with Microsoft. "The board of directors is continually evaluating all of its strategic options. Our board believes the Microsoft proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo," Yahoo spokesperson Diana Wong told Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is shuffling executives in its online division in an apparent attempt to better organize for a Yahoo! takeover. Brian McAndrews, the former CEO of the aQuantive digital advertising company (acquired by Microsoft last year), will assume most duties of division head Steve Berkowitz who will leave Microsoft in August.
A Microsoft spokesman told the New York Times that the leadership changes were "unrelated to the Yahoo negotiations, noting that seven other executives were also promoted to senior vice president."
Microsoft also promoted Satya Nadella and Bill Veghte to senior vice president positions. Nadella will sit in a lead engineering role in the online division. Veghte will assume a sales, marketing and strategy role in Windows and Microsoft's online properties.
Yahoo has publicly dismissed Microsoft's $44.6 billion takeover bid, setting the groundwork for a long conflict between the firms. The search firm's Board of Directors says it has unanimously rejected Microsoft's offer after believing that the deal "substantially undervalues" Yahoo's worth. The reputation associated with Yahoo's name, its user base, ad investments and finances are all worth more than what Microsoft has proposed, according to the statement.
Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang subsequently sent a letter to the company's stockholders in an attempt to reassure investors of its stance on the Microsoft deal. Yang claims that Yahoo is positioned to increase its value by around 60-percent by 2010, by emphasizing on its current business model.