Yahoo snubs fresh bid from Microsoft
Internet firm Yahoo this weekend angrily rejected an audacious proposal to sell its search business to software giant Microsoft and hand control of the rest of the company to shareholder Carl Icahn.
Icahn and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer are pressurising Yahoo in a desperate bid to oust the board and to remove chief executive Jerry Yang – the man they blame for scuppering Microsoft’s $46bn bid for the firm in May. Yahoo did not reveal the price being offered for its search business, but said the agreement it has with Google – struck as a defensive measure against Microsoft – provided better value for its shareholders.
It repeated its willingness to accept Microsoft’s original $33-ashare offer for a complete takeover of the firm, although Ballmer is no longer interested in paying such a high premium for the firm.
“Clearly, Microsoft, having failed to advance in search, is aligning with the short-term objectives of Mr Icahn to coerce Yahoo into selling its core strategic search assets on terms that are highly advantageous to Microsoft, but disadvantageous to Yahoo shareholders.
“While this type of erratic and unpredictable behaviour is consistent with what we have come to expect from Microsoft, we will not be bludgeoned into a transaction that is not in the best interests of our stockholders,” Bostock said.
The latest move in the on-off talks – which have been going on for six months – comes just weeks before Yahoo’s annual shareholder meeting on August 1, where Icahn plans to oust Yang and replace the board with his own slate of directors.
Any chance of Icahn winning the backing of shareholders was last week boosted when Ballmer made it clear he was still willing to buy the ailing internet firm – but only if its board of directors was removed.