Keep and eye on: Microsoft, Yahoo still talking?

March 3, 2008

Are Microsoft and Yahoo finally in talks or not? You decide.

Reuters tech correspondent Georgina Prodhan reports on Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer out of CeBIT in Hanover, Germany defending the price and value of its estimated $42 billion offer to buy Yahoo.

He also insinuates the two companies have engaged in “dialogue.”

“There’s been a range of dialogue and there’s a range of alternatives being considered. I think it’s best for me not to get into the detail,” Ballmer said.

Is that a real past tense, or could that dialogue still be taking place? No word yet on a potential proxy battle.

Our suggestion? Please start talking before Ballmer karate chops (see right) your company.

Keep and eye on:

  • Beth Comstock, NBC Universal’s integrated media boss, is expected to return to General Electric to head marketing and digital. (New York Post)
  • IAC dumping Teoma search technology? Nope. (Reuters)
  • Virgin Media is reviewing its portfolio of programming channels to set up a potential auction. (Sunday Times)

(Photo: Reuters)

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The evidence shows that Microsoft and Yahoo have strong board-room connections that could point to the potential for ongoing discussions between the two companies. The first connection runs through the investment-banking firm Morgan Stanley. Microsoft Director Charles H Noski and Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock would certainly be acquainted with one another since they both currently serve on Morgan Stanley’s board. Given Bostock’s influence within Yahoo, it’s highly probably that Microsoft would rely on Noski as a back channel for keeping the buyout negotiations open.