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All posts tagged "yahoo"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Microsoft Walks Away From Yahoo!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 07:23 AM


"Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced that it has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO). "We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. "Despite our best efforts, including raising our bid by roughly $5 billion, Yahoo! has not moved toward accepting our offer. After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo! do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal," said Ballmer."

What a dramatic three months it's been. The press release continues with a very detailed letter from Ballmer explaining why Microsoft's offering of $5 billion on top of the initial bid wasn't enough for Yahoo!, and why the proxy contest never too place. No Microhoo!, I guess. Now, I wonder if Goohoo! is on the cards.

Update: Yahoo! shares fell 22% in pre-market trading. NYSE opens in under an hour.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Microsoft Increases Offer By Several Dollars, Yahoo! Happy?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 09:45 PM


"After a months-long standoff, Microsoft and Yahoo are in active merger talks, a person involved in the discussions said. Microsoft, which had threatened to abandon its bid, has increased its offer “by several dollars,” this person said. The merger talks represent an enormous breakthrough following weeks of behind-the-scenes discussions without any progress. Exact terms being discussed could not be learned. The talks would explain the silence from Microsoft this week as it has refused to disclose its plans, despite threatening to bring a proxy contest if Yahoo didn’t reach a deal with it by last Saturday. Seven days have passed without any announcement from Microsoft about how it intends to proceed."

Well, this is certainly a more civil approach to the proposed acquisition, and it would explain why Microsoft has been so tight-lipped on the matter this week. Will we actually see Microhoo! emerge at the end of all this? Time will tell.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Microsoft to Yahoo!: You Have Three Weeks... or Else

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 AM


"Dear Members of the Board: It has now been more than two months since we made our proposal to acquire Yahoo! at a 62% premium to its closing price on January 31, 2008, the day prior to our announcement. Our goal in making such a generous offer was to create the basis for a speedy and ultimately friendly transaction. Despite this, the pace of the last two months has been anything but speedy... During these two months of inactivity, the Internet has continued to march on, while the public equity markets and overall economic conditions have weakened considerably, both in general and for other Internet-focused companies in particular. At the same time, public indicators suggest that Yahoo!’s search and page view shares have declined. Finally, you have adopted new plans at the company that have made any change of control more costly. By any fair measure, the large premium we offered in January is even more significant today. We believe that the majority of your shareholders share this assessment, even after reviewing your public disclosures relating to your future prospects."

Just when you thought talks of an acquisition of Yahoo! were winding down, Microsoft shows up to deliver Yahoo! a stern notice. They've been given three weeks to accept the initial offer or to come to an alternate agreement that would be willingly accepted by both parties. Failing that, the rumoured proxy contest will be realized: Microsoft will go straight to Yahoo!'s shareholders, and attempt to elect a new Board of Directors that will allow the acquisition to go through. Popcorn, anyone?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

APRIL FOOLS: Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! Join Forces

Posted by Darius Wey in "Pocket PC News" @ 08:00 AM


"Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) today announced that following a failed attempt on February 1, 2008, to acquire Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), it had made a second proposal to the Yahoo! Board of Directors on March 30, 2008, to acquire Yahoo! for a total equity value of approximately $49.8 billion. This proposal was formally accepted by Yahoo! on the morning of March 31, 2008. In addition, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) today announced that it had made a proposal to the Microsoft Board of Directors on March 31, 2008, to acquire Microsoft for a total equity value of approximately $270 billion, which Microsoft formally accepted on the same day. On the morning of April 1, 2008, Yahoo! made a proposal to the Google Board of Directors to acquire Google for $1. Google accepted this proposal immediately, citing it as a fair and honest deal. Together, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! believe that these acquisitions will create a more competitive company providing superior value to shareholders and better choice and innovation for customers and partners.

On April 15, 2008, the three companies will meet officially to discuss leadership options and industry consolidation and convergence. On April 16, 2008, Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Eric Schmidt (Google), and Jerry Yang (Yahoo!) will participate in a televised round-robin Dance Dance Revolution, SingStar, and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock contest, where the overall winner will be formally recognized as the CEO of the new company, Yahooglesoft. The remaining two participants, along with existing members of the Board of Directors from Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! will participate in a round-robin Rock-Paper-Scissors contest to establish a new Board of Directors at Yahooglesoft.
The new company, Yahooglesoft, will be formally established on May 1, 2008, and be based out of the Bermuda Triangle, before shifting to Virgle City in 2108.

Members of the press are encouraged to submit questions and statements to www.yahooglesoft.com/press. A mobile-friendly version of the web site is available at m.mobile.we-just-cant-standardize-mobile-urls.yahooglesoft.mobi."

Wow. Time to contact my stockbroker.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gates Says Yahoo! Bid Won't Change; Proxy Fight In the Works?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 PM

"Whether Microsoft intends to take its case to Yahoo shareholders, and maybe raise its offer in so doing, remains well within the company's rights. Nonetheless, Bill Gates said, at the very least, that a price hike wasn't necessary. A multitude of press sources presented conflicting reports on Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' comments following a speech at Stanford University yesterday. What Gates apparently said was that Microsoft has no plans to raise its $31 per share cash/stock bid for Yahoo, and that's the part that Reuters, the Associated Press, and The New York Times agreed upon. What they disagree upon is what he actually meant -- specifically, whether "no" means "yes." The confusion led MarketWatch this morning to simply report the conflicting stories as they appeared to stand, with the Times backing the AP's account that Microsoft could raise its bid through a proxy campaign with Yahoo's shareholders, and Reuters sticking with Gates' literal meaning... The news, such as it was, triggered a selloff in Yahoo shares this morning on the NASDAQ stock exchange, falling 2% in share value by 11:00 am EST to about $29. Last Thursday at mid-day, Yahoo share value peaked at about $30.25 -- very close to the point where Microsoft would probably have had to raise its bid anyway. So Gates' comments may have had the desired effect: tapering off the public value of Yahoo somewhat below the price Microsoft is willing to pay."

It's been a quiet few days on the Microhoo! front, but reports are in that Microsoft's initial bid of $44.6 billion, which Yahoo! claimed massively undervalued the company, will remain unchanged. Instead, it looks increasingly likely that Microsoft will rely on a proxy fight to take control of Yahoo!'s board and thus see the bid go through. It's certainly not the tidiest way to go about it, but I guess if Microsoft wants results without breaking the bank any more than it has to, it'll do whatever it takes to make this acquisition happen.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Microsoft to Yahoo!: We're Not Giving Up!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 07:30 PM


"Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) today issued the following statement in response to the announcement by Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) that its Board of Directors has rejected Microsoft’s previously announced proposal to acquire Yahoo!: It is unfortunate that Yahoo! has not embraced our full and fair proposal to combine our companies. Based on conversations with stakeholders of both companies, we are confident that moving forward promptly to consummate a transaction is in the best interests of all parties. We are offering shareholders superior value and the opportunity to participate in the upside of the combined company. The combination also offers an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market. A Microsoft-Yahoo! combination will create a more effective company that would provide greater value and service to our customers. Furthermore, the combination will create a more competitive marketplace by establishing a compelling number two competitor for Internet search and online advertising. The Yahoo! response does not change our belief in the strategic and financial merits of our proposal. As we have said previously, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!’s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.""

Long story short, Microsoft is a little disappointed, but undeterred by Yahoo!'s rejection of the $44.6 billion bid, and seems intent on pressing on with the potential acquisition one way or the other. It's unclear what will unfold in the days ahead. We may see the initial bid get pushed to a staggering $57+ billion, or more realistically, we may see it stay as-is and go directly through the shareholders in an attempt to put pressure on Yahoo!'s Board of Directors. Get out the popcorn, folks. This is proving to be one exciting corporate tennis match.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Yahoo! Set to Reject Microsoft Bid

Posted by Darius Wey in "Smartphone News" @ 03:50 PM


"Yahoo's board is planning to reject Microsoft's $44.6 billion offer, arguing that it "massively undervalues" the company, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The board reportedly won't consider an offer below $40 per share, which, as we understand it, was a number that was tossed around by Microsoft last year. The board also argues that the current offer doesn't adequately reflect the risk that the deal could be overturned by regulators. The board is reportedly planning on sending a letter on Monday, a little more than a week after Microsoft submitted an unsolicited bid of $31 per share, or $44.6 billion, for Yahoo... Given the size of Microsoft's bid, the likelihood of a higher offer from another bidder is minuscule and the list of potential suitors is very short. Still, Yahoo is rumored to be toying with the idea reorganizing the company and outsourcing its search-based advertising to Google in an effort to bolster revenue and remain a standalone company. Some industry watchers have also speculated that Yahoo could be trying to arrange an alternative deal with AOL."

According to reports on the WSJ and NYT, Yahoo! is set to officially reject Microsoft's bid of $44.6 billion on Monday. It's been claimed that Yahoo! considers anything less than $40 per share a slap in the face, so I guess the ball's in your court, Microsoft. Will you raise the stakes with an even bigger debt-inducing bid of $57+ billion? Or allow Google to feel comforted knowing that Microhoo! is still light years away.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Microsoft Proposes Acquisition of Yahoo!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 06:30 AM

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-01CorpNewsPR.mspx?rss_fdn=Press Releases

"Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) today announced that it has made a proposal to the Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) 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. Microsoft’s proposal would allow the Yahoo! shareholders to elect to receive cash or a fixed number of shares of Microsoft common stock, with the total consideration payable to Yahoo! shareholders consisting of one-half cash and one-half Microsoft common stock. The offer represents a 62 percent premium above the closing price of Yahoo! common stock on Jan. 31, 2008. "We have great respect for Yahoo!, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. "We believe our combination will deliver superior value to our respective shareholders and better choice and innovation to our customers and industry partners.""

2007 was a busy year for acquisitions, and 2008 looks to continue the trend if Yahoo! accepts Microsoft's acquisition proposal valued at $44.6 billion. Yahoo! offers some great services for desktops and mobile devices and there's huge potential in integrating these into Microsoft's arsenal of complementary and competitive offerings. But there's also the risk of Yahoo!'s services biting the dust if Microsoft fails to use them advantageously. Such flops have happened in the history of corporate mergers and acquisitions and there's always a chance it'll happen again.

So, Jerry, what's it going to be? Accept or reject? And for the rest of you, drop your thoughts on this possible acquisition in this thread.

Update: The word from Yahoo! so far has been nothing more than confirmation that an evaluation of the proposal is taking place and that it's being performed in the context of Yahoo!'s strategic plans and maximized long-term value for shareholders. Check out their press release, corporate blog post, and FAQ for more. We'll keep you updated with the latest as it occurs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

eBay Weirdness: Customized Zune E-mail Address

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Off-Topic" @ 12:00 AM


We're not sure if this qualifies as amusing or stupid. Perhaps it's both. For a starting bid of 99 cents, you could have grabbed your very own "beam_your_zune_tune@yahoo.com" e-mail address. The incentive for doing so? We have no clue. What's worse is that it's not even a Hotmail address, so it's not really a complete Microsoft piece. Yes, folks - we think this is just the first of many outlandish Zune "items" that will appear on eBay this year. Get ready for some last minute Christmas shopping!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Zune Marketplace Details Announced

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Media" @ 11:36 AM

There's not much to go on here, but the first official details about Zune Marketplace have emerged: the all-you-can-eat subscription cost will be $14.99 USD per month, and the service will contain "millions" of songs. Individual songs will cost 79 Microsoft Points, which work out to 99 cents USD. And that's it for the official information.

Let's unpack that a little - first, the pricing at $14.99 USD. That's the same as Napster with a NapsterToGo subscription, which is what is required for playback on devices. It's 50% more expensive than the Yahoo! Music Unlimited To Go offering at $9.99 USD per month. Microsoft's pricing then would seem to be hardly market-leading, and I firmly believe market-leading is where they need to position themselves to make serious in-roads on the already established players. If I can get unlimited music on my Creative Zen Vision:M for $9.99 USD a month from Yahoo!, will the WiFi goodies on the Zune be enough to justify the $60 more a year? I would have much preferred Microsoft to position their service with more aggressive pricing - $9.99 USD per month has a nice ring to it. We can always hope that the $14.99 USD pricing is for monthly payments, and a yearly payment would cut the price back.

The issue may be moot however, as the Zune Marketplace is going to be limited to the United States only at launch. I held out slim hope that there'd be a footnote someplace that said "Oh yeah, Canada too", but a Microsoft source confirmed for me that it was limited to the USA. This is going to be hugely frustrating, although it's not unexpected. Regardless of where Microsoft launches the Zune hardware, people from outside the USA will get their hands on the hardware. They won't be able to use the device to it's full potential though without access to the Zune Marketplace. This issue is made more glaring by the fact that the Zune will not work with any other online music services. The "Zune Experience" might be easier than other services, but the question is how quickly will Microsoft be launching the Zune in other countries? MSN Music still isn't available in Canada, though they did launch in seven other international markets (Australia, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom). Will the Zune launch in more countries, and faster? I sincerely hope so.

A word about track pricing: 79 Microsoft points converts to 99 cents USD, which is standard for the market. I hope that pricing will be different when the Zune launches in other markets: 79 points is $1.26 Canadian, which is 27% more expensive than the 99 cents CAN iTunes users in Canada pay. Interestingly enough, Darius (who's in Australia) tells me that the $1.30 Australian that 79 points converts to is less expensive than iTunes in Australia. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in international markets.

There are still many unknowns: what about Zune Marketplace on multiple PCs? One would hope that, at minimum, they'd match Napster's three-PC offering, though as someone with six regularly-used PCs in his home, I'd love to see a more aggressive offering. What about multiple Zunes on one Marketplace account? Questions, questions.

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