Microsoft and Yahoo have finally come to an understanding, putting to rest what seemed like an endless back-and-forth (As Barry Diller said yesterday, “We’re not going to have to talk about whether or not it’s going to happen anymore).
In case you were at the beach, on the golf course, riding your bike, or hiding out in a cave yesterday, here are the very basics: It’s a 10-year Web search deal; doesn’t include display; Microsoft will the guarantee revenue per search for the first 18 months; Yahoo expects deal to boost income by $500 million and save about $200 million in capex; Microsoft will pay traffic acquisition at an initial rate of 88 percent; Yahoo will act as the global sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers; etc. etc.
Just about everyone has weighed in on the deal, and more analysis is certain to come in the days ahead. In the meantime, here’s what we see as a few key questions about the deal.
Will it get regulatory approval? Tough call. It certainly will get a close look, given the high-profile names of the companies involved. And, remember, it leaves really only two major search engines rather than three. On the other hand, is the market really competitive at the moment? And won’t Google just keep extending its lead — and hurting competition — if Yahoo and Microsoft don’t get together? “Without this deal, I think it would be really unlikely that you’d have a market with three robust search providers in 10 years,” said Beau Buffier, an attorney with Shearman & Sterling LLP. (More here from Reuters)
What do advertisers and media buyers think? Most appear, at first blush, to be happy with the deal. Having one dominant search player — Google — makes it tough for the advertising community. So they seem to welcome the idea of some competition. Plus, it simplifies life for media agencies. “”This is extremely encouraging and introduces more balance into the search and display markets,” said Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of British advertising group WPP. “It is good for our clients and our agencies and for regulators.” (More here from Reuters)