Semel, Kotick pass the buck on Yahoo’s future

May 1, 2008

semel.jpgTalk about passing the buck.

During a panel discussion on media and entertainment at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Wednesday, former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel swiftly deflected questions about the Internet company’s current pickle with Microsoft to his fellow panelist and Yahoo! board member Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.

Asked by moderator Dennis Kneale of CNBC how Yahoo had gotten itself in the position of being courted by Microsoft, Semel pointed to Kotick, who was sitting next to him.

“Ask the board member,” he said.

kotick.jpgBut Kotick wouldn’t bite. In fact, he said nothing at all.

Later on, Kneale tried again, asking another panelist, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, to tell Semel and Kotick what Yahoo! should do in response to Microsoft’s $44 billion bid.

“Can you tell us what Yahoo should do with itself?” Kneale pleaded.

Chernin also deferred to Kotick, who again said nothing. When pressed by Kneale to give the Yahoo board member his advice, Chernin finally gave a response that could only be characterized as diplomatic.

“I have no advice for Yahoo!, it seems to be doing just fine,” he said.

chernin.jpgSemel gave a similarly deferential response when asked by Kneale whether News Corp. should spin off a portion of its MySpace business to the public.

“It’s a very good asset and I’m sure ultimately he will find a better way to monetize it and bring more and more advertising,” Semel said.

And they all lived happily ever after.

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