It appears that Steve and Carl are like a couple of mischievous schoolboys, who can’t let something go until they are sure they have either destroyed something, or figured out why they can’t do it.
A notice on Tech Crunch states that ‘the boys’ have been discussing all the different scenarios that might play out if they go after Yahoo again.
Then, an addendum to the article states that Yahoo is willing now, to hear all serious offers, so come on down and play ‘let’s make a deal’.
This is the sort of garbage that will drive the news for a few days before anything happens, it always works that way. By the time it starts to die down again, it will be time to move – if all the schoolboys stop being petulant when they don’t get things exactly their own way. The egos here are just too big for any boardroom; better hold this one outdoors.
from Tech Crunch –
Dissident Yahoo shareholder Carl Icahn and Microsoft have been talking to each other (as has everyone else involved in a possible Yahoo deal, including Yahoo and AOL over the weekend). In a letter to shareholders, reproduced below, Icahn notes that he and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have been discussing possible transactions over the past week, and that Ballmer ” made it clear to me that if a new board were elected, he would be interested in discussing a major transaction with Yahoo! . . . immediately.”
Microsoft is throwing its weight behind Icahn’s proxy battle, going so far as to signal that an Icahn-controlled Yahoo is the only one that it is willing to restart negotiations with. Icahn says Microsoft won’t enter into any deal with the current Yahoo board because of the risk that the company will be “mismanaged” in the nine months or more it could take to finalize a deal of this size. He states:
Steve made it abundantly clear that, due to his experiences with Yahoo! during the past several months, he cannot negotiate any transaction with the current board.
In a coordinated statement it just released, Microsoft confirms that while it has “concluded that we cannot reach an agreement” with the current board and management at Yahoo, and that “after the shareholder election Microsoft would be interested in discussing with a new board a major transaction with Yahoo!”
Microsoft is basically telling the market that the only way a Microsoft deal can be revived is by voting the current board out. Yahoo’s stock is up 10 percent this morning on the news to $23.50, last time I checked.
Icahn makes it sound like he and Ballmer are closer than two teenage Best Friends Forever, talking on the phone for “as long as an hour,” gossiping about what they plan to do to Yahoo. But Microsoft is not guaranteeing anything, just that it would talk to Yahoo again if a new board is elected that is more open to a deal than the current one. It would be Microsoft’s fiduciary duty to do so anyway. Ballmer just likes slapping Yahoo around. He is not really committing to anything.
Yahoo, for its part, plans on arguing at its shareholder meeting that selling its search business to Microsoft makes no sense. But one of its counterpoints to Icahn’s original five-point plan, that Microsoft is no longer interested in a full acquisition of Yahoo, is now officially invalid.
but then we have the addendum
Update: Yahoo responds, saying these announcements are silly because Yahoo’s current board is ready to negotiate a full sale of the company with Microsoft. Here is the full statement (I’ve bolded parts of it for emphasis):
Yahoo!’s Board of Directors continues to stand ready to enter into negotiations with Microsoft Corporation for an acquisition of Yahoo!. Indeed, as recently as June, Yahoo!’s independent directors and management approached Steve Ballmer about just such a transaction, only to be told that Microsoft was no longer interested even in the price range which they had previously proposed. Now Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Icahn have teamed up in an apparent effort to force Yahoo! into selling to Microsoft its Search business at a price to be determined in a future “negotiation” between Mr. Icahn’s directors and Microsoft’s management. We feel very strongly that this would not lead to an outcome that would be in the best interests of Yahoo!’s stockholders. If Microsoft and Mr. Ballmer really want to purchase Yahoo!, we again invite them to make a proposal immediately. And if Mr. Icahn has an actual plan for Yahoo! beyond hoping that Microsoft might actually consummate a deal which they have repeatedly walked away from, we would be very interested in hearing it.
Very strange – it sounds like the people at Yahoo are tired of fighting the good fight (against both Microsoft and Google) and are ready for the big payoff before retiring to that desert isle.
the actual statements from Icahn and Ballmer here
In typical blah-blah-blah fashion they both talk about superior value for stock holders – short term. That is the trouble these days, it’s always a refrain of that Janet Jackson song, ‘What Have You Done For Me, Lately’.
Looks like Yahoo is a goner now, and as I have predicted Icahn will be insinuating himself into the works at Microsoft. The gates of Troy are close, and Ballmer, Gates, and Microsoft deserve whatever they get.
Quote of the day:
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before. – Mae West