NEW YORK: In what increasingly resembles a storyboard for Jurassic Park IV, the brontosauruses of the media world are rearing and roaring over the future of stumbling Yahoo – the subject of an unsolicited takeover bid by Microsoft.
Also in the frame are Google – desperate to thwart a merger that could threaten its supremacy – NBC Universal and News Corporation, which last year floated the idea of uniting MySpace with Yahoo.
Growled NewsCorp's ornithomimid chairman/ceo Rupert Murdoch: "We are definitely not going to make a bid for Yahoo." But according to bbc.co.uk, Murdoch then qualified his denial: "We are just not interested at this stage," he hedged.
A loose alliance with Google is thought to be Yahoo's preferred outcome – although it would have to be loose to the point of disintegration to satisfy US and European competition authorities.
While Microsoft made it very plain that any partnership between the two search rivals would trigger instant recourse to competition regulators.
In a meeting with analysts, Microsoft ceo Steve Ballmer declared: "Any alternative scenario actually doesn't seem to enhance competition and, certainly, that would be the message we will communicate to regulators. Google's clearly got a dominant position – they have about 75% of paid search worldwide."
Ballmer also triggered a few arched eyebrows among the moneymen when he revealed that cash-rich Microsoft intends to borrow on the capital markets to finance the Yahoo acquisition – the first time it has done so since its formation in 1977.
Data sourced from Financial Times and BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff