Microsoft Resuscitates Yahoo Bid Prospects

08 July 2008

REDMOND, Washington: Like a predatory tomcat lurking in the undergrowth, Microsoft is bracing itself to pounce yet again on ailing internet search portal Yahoo – seemingly egged-on by corporate raider Carl Icahn (pictured).

Yesterday (Monday) the software titan declared its rekindled interest in talks that could lead to a full or partial bid for Yahoo. But only on condition that the latter's current board is fired.

Observers see the latest announcement as an Icahn-inspired ploy to influence Yahoo shareholders when they convene for the company's annual meeting on August 1. At which a key agenda item is Icahn's  motion to replace the company's entire board with his own nominees.

Unlike the current board, an Icahn contingent would share their leader's enthusiasm for a sale – eagerness no doubt driven by his amassment of ten million Yahoo shares with an option on a further 49 million. A holding that would yield a golden RoI should Microsoft win the day.

Neither Icahn nor Microsoft make any secret of their mutual interest. In a letter to Yahoo's board, the former admitted having  spoken "frequently" to Microsoft ceo Steve Ballmer over the past week. The latter has declared likewise.

Yahoo's share price rose almost 12% on news of Microsoft's reawakened interest, hitting $23.89, albeit some way below the $33 a share Microsoft indicated it was prepared to pay back in May.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff