Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is MSFT still interested in YHOO?

Let's look at those statements one at a time:
* Microsoft has lost interest in the deal -
MSFT would like everyone to believe that. But remember that they also keep saying that all options are on the table and they reserve a right to go for a full acquisition of YHOO at a future date. The way its stock has been trading lately, seems like nobody except for Henry believes that MSFT has really lost interest. If MSFT had really lost interest, they would come out with a categorical statement that they are no longer interested in any kind of deal with YHOO and that would support its stock.

* The online display ad environment has deteriorated significantly - This is all the more reason for MSFT to salvage whatever is left of the search market. Only way they can do it is to acquire YHOO.

* Microsoft's stock price has dropped 10% - Well considering its precarious position in its bread and butter markets (office / OS) which would soon go the way of dodo or dinosaur (pick your metaphor), and lack of traction in new emerging markets like online, music, mobile, gaming etc, MSFT doesn't have much of a choice. It can go down without a fight dishonorably or try to fight it out and go down honorably. This is the decision that Ballmer and Gates have to make. I think they will hesitate and when all is said and done will decide to put up a fight. If they end up buying YHOO, MSFT stock will go down because of the high price paid and if they don't buy YHOO, it will still go down because the stock-holders would want to jump out of a shrinking enterprise. Icahn is definitely betting on MSFT's weak hand here.

My yesterday's comment on Icahn's thought process is at:
I think Icahn will come out a winner in this. He will probably get 1 or 2 seats on the board. At that point he will make the YHOO stock acquistion more expensive than the $33 MSFT was offering or if MSFT dithers, put the "goog-deal" gun to its head, which would be the worst nightmare coming true for MSFT.

Everyday that MSFT stock drops, Yang's decision to reject MSFT's low-ball stock swap deal, looks that much smarter. I believe the pundits give lot more credit to Ballmer compared to Yang. But the stock market has showed who the winner is and who the loser is in this saga.

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