Yahoo-Microsoft Deal Off ... On Again … or 'Hogwash'?

02 December 2008

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Hard news, often a scarce commodity over holiday weekends, is frequently supplanted by desperate news editors with scuttlebutt. This Thanksgiving weekend was no exception, with rumour rife that Microsoft had resuscitated its bid for Yahoo with a diminished offer of $20 billion (€15.76bn; £13.03bn).

This time, however, went the tale, the software giant had bid only for the portal's search business. And the story wasn't short on detail: Jonathan Miller, former AOL chairman/ceo and Ross Levinsohn, onetime president of Fox Interactive Media, were in line to lead the new management team, claimed Rupert Murdoch's UK organ, Times Online.

Unfortunately, the report, although long on detail was short on truth; and in a classic case of the left hand rubbishing the right, prominent bloggers within the Murdoch/Wall Street Journal camp dismissed the Times story.

Kara Swisher at the NewsCorp-owned All Things Digital blog reported that Levinsohn told her it's "total fiction" and "the first time he'd heard of the plan". 

Another respected blog, VentureBeat, also revealed: "We've reached out to Levinsohn who says of the Times Online report: 'No truth to it. News to us'."

And Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider quotes Levinsohn as dismissing the report as "hogwash".

Meantime, preferring safety to sorrow, WARC News checked with the media relations departments of both companies and found no reference whatever to any such deal.

  • Icahn Ups Stake in Yahoo 
    Amid the welter of speculation – a sole significant fact: billionaire hedge-fund manager Carl Icahn has increased his Yahoo holding with an additional $67 million worth of shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The purchase lifts his total stake in Yahoo to 75.6m shares – 5.5% of the company's total stock.

  • Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff