Microsoft almost certainly going hostile on Yahoo, unless it's not

Steve Ballmer prepares to do something.


Farhad Manjoo
May 2, 2008 8:39PM (UTC)

News streaming out of Microsoft and into the pages of the Wall Street Journal suggests that Microsoft is almost certainly going to launch a hostile bid for Yahoo -- that is, take its takeover proposal directly to shareholders in an effort to oust Yahoo's board and install an MS-friendly slate. Unless it decides not to.

Because as Kara Swisher says, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer -- who, nearly three weeks ago, gave Yahoo a two-week deadline to respond to his bid, or else -- has since been vacillating over various or elses.

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Earlier this week, Swisher notes, Ballmer...

...sent smoke signals that he was considering raising the price of his takeover bid for Yahoo.

And just before that, Ballmer was going to walk away from the deal. Except, before that when he was ready to lower his offer.

But don't forget the friendly path, Ballmer was also promising. Even though, his initial unsolicited offer started off back in February as, well, hostile.

In a talk to employees yesterday, Ballmer explained his crush on Yahoo by citing, once again, its size. Microsoft's online ad strategy is terrific, he said, and if forced to, it could do without Yahoo. But Yahoo enhances the position from which Microsoft can execute that strategy.

"I'd like to have a better position relative to the guy who sells the most advertising," he said -- the guy here being Google.

Stay tuned for something big. Or nothing at all.


Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

MORE FROM Farhad Manjoo

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