Back in July, when Microsoft walked away from Yahoo, conspiracy theorists surmised that the software giant would eventually come back to bid again at half the price. The Chief Yahoo - that's the title Jerry Yang is reclaiming after saying last night he would step down as CEO - is no longer in a position to block a deal, so it's fair to assume Microsoft and its bulging mound of cash could return for another bite.
Yang has been talking with the board, which includes activist investor Carl Icahn, about stepping down since before Google pulled out of a search advertising deal with his company earlier this month, according to a person familiar with the talks.
Yahoo's share price jumped after the news on Yang. That could just be relief that he is going, or it could be renewed hope of a deal. So a dealmaker could take the reins of the Internet company, which has already seen great swaths of its brain trust flee in the months since the initial Microsoft bid failed.
A source said the process of finding a successor to Yang could take anywhere from four to 12 weeks, and analysts have suggested a star-studded cast of candidates, including former AOL chief Jon Miller, News Corp President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, former eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman, former Yahoo COO Dan Rosensweig, and Yahoo President Sue Decker.
As America celebrated a historic presidential election on Nov. 4, US newspapers also celebrated their (one-day) revival as all major city newspapers were cleared off the shelves the next day. Media industry watchers hailed President-elect Barack Obama’s media Midas touch, as if he could even save the long suffering newspaper business.
Here’s Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer during a keynote interview at a Gartner’s ITXpo, where — in case you somehow missed the news, the chatter, and the stock market reaction — he reportedly said a deal with Yahoo may still make economic sense.