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Microsoft Bids $44.6B for Yahoo

 11:49 am on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just a brief clip on Yahoo News dated Feb. 1, 2008:

Microsoft to Pay $31 Per Share for Yahoo, Totaling $44.6 Billion in Cash and Stock [biz.yahoo.com]

Microsoft Corp. offered to buy search engine operator Yahoo Inc. for $44.6 billion in cash and stock in a move to boost its competitive edge in the online services market.

And here's a Press Release with today's date:

Microsoft Proposes Acquisition of Yahoo! for $31 per Share [biz.yahoo.com]

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT - News) today announced that it has made a proposal to the Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO - News) Board of Directors to acquire all the outstanding shares of Yahoo! common stock for per share consideration of $31 representing a total equity value of approximately $44.6 billion.

It's hitting news sites one after another now.

From Fortune's Daily Briefing [dailybriefing.blogs.fortune.cnn.com]

Microsoft’s letter to Yahoo further indicates that a year ago, Microsoft approached Yahoo’s board but was told that “now is not the right time from the perspective of our shareholders to enter into discussions regarding an acquisition transaction.” Given the plunge in Yahoo stock and the prospect of a damaging recession this year, if now isn’t the right time, it’s hard to imagine what is.

[edited by: Marcia at 12:02 pm (utc) on Feb. 1, 2008]



 3:23 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

couple of questions for those much informed than me

Does Yahoo have any interest in the Broadband Wi/Fi market amongst its portfolio

Has Yahoo bought some other advertising agencies lately

Could this be MSN way into the New Telecoms market by owning Yahoo and doing a deal with it's parent over content

Is Overture is still the second biggest player in PPC advertising

I think Search Is just a minor part of this but the Yahoo Portal still one of the most visited places on the net

Plus as others have said maybe they felt they had no choice if they didn't G would have done



 3:27 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Remember that old song by the Carpenters, We've only just begun?


Advertisers around the world are expected to double their spending on the Internet during the next three years as more people get their news and entertainment on the Web instead of television, radio, newspapers and magazine. The trend is expected to create an $80 billion online ad market in 2010, up from an estimated $40 billion last year.

This isn't pie-in-the-sky-1999 - this is real world with real numbers to back it up. Market share is everything! Must have eyes for ads - must have inventory.

Every time you get to thinking that your market share is tapped out, or that it is saturated - come back to this thread and reread that quote. We are going to double within 2-3 years. DOUBLE!


 3:30 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Great find Marcia! The early bird gets the worm, eh?

Yahoo! is Synonymous with the Internet

Microsoft will now have the other half of the equation and will hopefully put the two together and provide healthy competition in the search marketplace.

What about Ask.com :)


 3:31 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

> What about Ask.com :)

Who? ;-)


 3:32 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

While search will definitely be affected, I don't think it's MS's primary reason for the offer. You don't buy a whole car just because you like the wheels.

Yahoo!'s developers have been doing some real cool stuff with MS technologies lately and I think this is a big reason. It's one thing that Y! does well and MS sucks at - cool. I think Marketing, IM, Online Communities, these are what MS has to gain. Why not pick them up while they're cheap?

I'm hoping that if it does go through it will mean good things for Silverlight. If it does, then not only will MS be advancing towards Google, but also towards Adobe...


 3:54 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

first MSN has a very powerful brand and has "plenty" of eyeballs. Frankly, I doubt they can sell ads for all the eyeballs most websites have. This is about growing the only way they can. No matter what happens with its stock, xx% of users will always (well, almost always) use Yahoo and it's search. By buying it with a signature, MSFT gets that xx%.

The HUGE problem: How the h-ll does one deal with all the brands? Y! Mail; Hotmail, LiveMail;Y! Finance, Msn Finance, Search, real estate, cars, hotels, blah, blah, blah. The Yahoo brand is it, yet Microsoft is not doing the buying to get rid of the MSN name /brands. How can you separate the content from the brand? You can't. frankly it does not make sense and all of us know it ;). If another company had bought it, then yeah, but not MSFT with it's own brands.

From our perspective: this isn't good at all. Having search in two, is not good for diversifying. Screw one up and you're 50% out.


 4:09 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

MS wisely throws the towel in on search. Weary Y! is ripe for a 2-on-1 tag-team partner vs. Google. Exciting.


 4:19 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

From our perspective: this isn't good at all. Having search in two, is not good for diversifying. Screw one up and you're 50% out.

While I'd normally agree with this kind of thinking, wouldn't that be a better situation than we're in now?

Right now, screw one (G) up and you're 85% out. We can only hope that a combined MS/Y! can get 50% market share of search.


 4:25 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hehehe, things are going to light up around this neck of the woods, that's for sure. Picture this, a WebmasterWorld homepage with an equal balance of MSN and Google topics. Oh, that's blasphemy, isn't it?

[edited by: pageoneresults at 5:06 pm (utc) on Feb. 1, 2008]


 4:31 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

How the h-ll does one deal with all the brands?

Same way Y! ate Overture, launching new products re-branded MicroYahoOverture ;).


 4:44 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Kufu - This is a great move for MSN. It eliminates a competitor, increases its search market share to become more competitive with Google and basically holds a monopoly on display.

Oh I don't disagree, but it all depends on how they utilize their acquisition. If they try to use Yahoo! to get more users to MSN/Live then I think it would spell trouble since Live is an inferior engine to Yahoo!.

/aside - I wouldn't mind if Yahoo! ends up with the Live engine; I do pretty well on Live ;)


 5:02 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)


The time for the announcement couldn't be better.

Right after anti-Microsoft Web sites [ [groklaw.net...] ] began to celebrate the extension of the oversight of Microsoft, MS announces its intention to acquire Yahoo.

A funny way to indirectly respond to the anti-Microsoft crowd and the Court's decision.

[edited by: zafile at 5:09 pm (utc) on Feb. 1, 2008]


 5:02 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, for MS it will take 10 days to triple their SE market share instead of the ten years it would have taken them. Guess this won't be a big charity year for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It may be a pricey move but it is certainly a field-leveling move as good as any other they could come up with.


 5:39 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

2-on-1 tag-team partner vs. Google

I think this is more like the #3 runner tying one leg to the #2 runner.

With Google continuing to sprint on it's own two feet, how will the Yahoo/Microsoft Three Legged Search catch up?


 5:39 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now this is news!

It'll be interesting to see how his plays out. I'm wondering if this will fly from a competitive/monopoly perspective. Shouldn't be a problem as even MS and Y! together doesn't equal Googles sharehold on the search market.


 5:48 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

"I'm wondering if this will fly from a competitive/monopoly perspective."

Better now with Bush in the White House.

If in one year we get another Clinton in the White House, probably the witch hunt for Microsoft will start again.

Provided the deal closes by the middle of 2008, this might fly.


 5:49 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

The monopoly issue ought to be a small problem partly because (as mentioned above) Yahoo and MS's market share is still tiny compared to Google's, but also because consumers aren't locked into using search engines in any way.

If you like a search engine you use it, if you don't like it you can just go elsewhere, or even use several search engines. There's no technology or contract that locks you into using a particular engine.


 5:56 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Under the Microsoft offer, Yahoo shareholders can elect to receive cash or a fixed number of shares of Microsoft stock, with its total offer consisting of half cash and half stock.

So this means $22.3 billion cash and $22.3 billion in shares.

But the last 10Q shows they only have about $21 billion as cash and short term investments.

Can someone explain how this is going to work? Surely they will not be spending the last of their cash reserve?


 6:04 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

This is not considered a monopoly. However, it can be considered an oligopoly. This is a market condition that exists when there are few sellers, as a result of which they can greatly influence price and other market factors.

This is a very bad thing for all that advertise on the internet. This buyout will most likly have adverse affects on ppc,seo,paid inclusion and display.

There are very few viable options out there today. MSN is eliminating a competitor and gaining more control over the internet industry as it has done in the past with operating systems.


 6:11 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Informationweek stole my title for an article from my post last May on the topic-

":) they have $30 Billion in CASH already, and if they decided to pay 100% cash for it (very unlikely), banks would be running over each other to lend it to them. If msft cannot afford them, no one can. If I was a Y! holder, I'd take a 20% premium and MS stock."
Yes, I know they can afford yahoo, but can they really afford yahoo?"


Oh information week- just admit you steal your tech stuff from WW.


 6:16 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Microsoft and Google will dominate the world 10 years from now.


 6:20 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just enabled Live domains for my name. I can say that MSFT SUCKS. They keep renaming services every other week with 4-5 names too and there's information in a bazillion places. Poor MsnYahoo, unless they get their act together

"Windows Live Hotmail
The new Hotmail brings you more. More space (5 GB), more security, still free. Sign up for our award-winning service."

so what is it? Hotmail, Windows Live or a spiced Hotmail?

"Have an MSN Hotmail, MSN Messenger, or Passport account? It's your Windows Live ID."

III (image ad)
"Welcome to the new Windows Live

meanwhile the url of the login is login.live.com

And these are just in the sign in page


 7:13 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

So why is Microsoft's $tock dropping with this announcement?

This is normal, though it's more common in a stock acquisition than a cash acquisition. Look at any acquisition by a public company.

The stock of the acquired company will rise, the stock of the acquiring company will fall.

In a stock acquisition there is a clear cause and effect - the stock of the acquiring company will be diluted by issuing more shares. The stock of the acquired company will rise because, of course (normally) the bidder will offer a (often hefty) premium to induce shareholders to sell.

In a cash acquisition, though, given this pattern, one can only surmise that the market feels the asset has been over-priced.

Ah, I see from re-reading the article that MSFT proposes a mix of cash and stock. As somebody once said, "you could do the math".

In fact, it's a common trading strategy to short the stock of the acquiring company and buy the stock of the acquired company, after the announcement. This is called "risk arbitrage" or "merger arbitrage".

As you get closer to the closing date, the stock of the acquired company should rise to very near the acquisition price, while the stock of the acquiring company will continue to fall (until the acquisition date).

The "risk" the trader is taking is that the deal may not go through, and then the prices will typically go back to where they were. (Or "should be now" absent the acquisition.)

Notice that YHOO is trading at 28.48 (right now) though the proposed acquisition price is $31.00.

Should YHOO trade above $31, it is indicative that the market feels that Microsoft will up the ante.

Of course, there are many other factors that determine stock price, most of which are "unknown". (Only the market knows, and the market's only voice is the price.)

But, wow, what a bonus for YHOO shareholders today! (Up almost 50%). MSFT is serious.

Wikipedia's not a great source on this, but it's one I can get away with linking to. :)


[edited by: jtara at 7:17 pm (utc) on Feb. 1, 2008]


 7:14 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I for one welcome our new $! overlords...

[edited by: Murdoch at 7:15 pm (utc) on Feb. 1, 2008]


 7:25 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sounds like Chrysler bidding for Daimler....


 7:45 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't believe this will slip past both the EU and US antitrust law enforcement agencies. In an ogilopoly, companies #2 and 3 merging really has the same effect as companies #1 and 2, or #1 and 3.

And when company #3 is already facing 10-digit fines for contempt of court, court oversight being extended (for reasons that might be construed as contempt, the judge suggests), new court activity for allegations of the same-old-same-old illegalities, and the steam is still rising off their last attempt to leverage a desktop monopoly into a search monopoly (which failed due to public outcry, before the legal mills even started grinding) ...

What were they thinking?

Or is this just the old Clintonesque trick of covering up a scandal by ostentatiously doing something else, more trivial but equally scandalous?

Or is it just desperation?


 7:51 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't believe this will slip past both the EU and US antitrust law enforcement agencies. In an ogilopoly, companies #2 and 3 merging really has the same effect as companies #1 and 2, or #1 and 3.

Keep in mind that this was addressed with Oracle's buyout of Peoplesoft, while SAP sat at the #1 position.


 8:02 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

After all these years and expertise, they could not turn MSN into a decent search engine.

When it comes to search engines, Google is the Lamborgini, Yahoo is the Oldsmobile, and MSN is the Lada.

They may be able to buy a second tier search engine like Yahoo, and make it work, if they don't tinker with it to much.

If they do tinker with it, and turn it into another MSN, then Google will have the entire search market.

Microsoft occasionally gets things right, but to often they get things wrong.


 8:20 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

MSN is the Lada.

I agree, my switch to MSN Live earlier this year was very short lived. Google rocks and so does Adwords.

I wonder if the purchase of Yahoo will speed up Vista? :P


 8:31 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

MSFT should have offered $1 billion to Y!'s top engineers :) instead. I doubt EU will let this happen, and it is not just the search.


 9:05 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

".....Weary Y! is ripe for a 2-on-1 tag-team partner vs. Google. Exciting....."

Batman and Robin vs Superman :)

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