Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 PM
"Whether Microsoft intends to take its case to Yahoo shareholders, and maybe raise its offer in so doing, remains well within the company's rights. Nonetheless, Bill Gates said, at the very least, that a price hike wasn't necessary. A multitude of press sources presented conflicting reports on Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' comments following a speech at Stanford University yesterday. What Gates apparently said was that Microsoft has no plans to raise its $31 per share cash/stock bid for Yahoo, and that's the part that Reuters, the Associated Press, and The New York Times agreed upon. What they disagree upon is what he actually meant -- specifically, whether "no" means "yes." The confusion led MarketWatch this morning to simply report the conflicting stories as they appeared to stand, with the Times backing the AP's account that Microsoft could raise its bid through a proxy campaign with Yahoo's shareholders, and Reuters sticking with Gates' literal meaning... The news, such as it was, triggered a selloff in Yahoo shares this morning on the NASDAQ stock exchange, falling 2% in share value by 11:00 am EST to about $29. Last Thursday at mid-day, Yahoo share value peaked at about $30.25 -- very close to the point where Microsoft would probably have had to raise its bid anyway. So Gates' comments may have had the desired effect: tapering off the public value of Yahoo somewhat below the price Microsoft is willing to pay."
It's been a quiet few days on the Microhoo! front, but reports are in that Microsoft's initial bid of $44.6 billion, which Yahoo! claimed massively undervalued the company, will remain unchanged. Instead, it looks increasingly likely that Microsoft will rely on a proxy fight to take control of Yahoo!'s board and thus see the bid go through. It's certainly not the tidiest way to go about it, but I guess if Microsoft wants results without breaking the bank any more than it has to, it'll do whatever it takes to make this acquisition happen.