Yahoo – jilted lover or masterful tactician?

yang-photo.jpgYahoo Chief Jerry Yang is leaving the door open to Microsoft, he tells us. In an interview with Reuters’ Michele Gershberg, Yang says he had been seeking common ground when Microsoft abruptly ended deal talks.

Yang: “We were negotiating a way to find common ground and then on Saturday they chose to walk away.”

Asked if they’re up for more from Microsoft, Yang says, “If they have anything new to say, we would be open … I am more than willing to listen.”

Is this a cover-our-butts move in the event they face shareholder lawsuits or is it a candid appeal to Microsoft to come back to the table?

Separately, sources are telegraphing that a final agreement between Google and Yahoo has not been reached as they discuss a potential deal with regulators. They also say any potential deal with Yahoo would not be prohibitive to Yahoo striking other agreements down the line. The move appears to be Google’s attempt at playing both sides — offering a carrot to Yahoo, while appeasing regulators.

Forty ‘no comments’ from Yahoos

Now that Microsoft Corp has withdrawn its bid for Yahoo Inc, one of the questions on the minds of many (MediaFile included) is what’s the attitude like at the Web company’s leafy Sunnyvale, California headquarters. Elation? Disappointment? Anger? Frustration? Relief? Fear? Pride? Confusion?yahoo-headquarters.jpg

So I made the drive to the Yahoo campus today to find out. Security at the main gate turned me away, but I managed to take cover behind a Yahoo sign and ask employees as they walked by if they would mind talking about the whole Microsoft thing.

Here’s what I got: No thank you, politely, from 40 people.

While I promised anonymity, Yahoos clearly aren’t in the mood to talk about their feelings publicly. At least not to a reporter at the company’s campus. Perhaps some of you out there would rather drop us a comment? Feel free. Fire away. Let us know how you feel.

Microsoft and Yahoo: what next?

Yahoo CEO Jerry YangNow that Microsoft has broken off its pursuit of Yahoo, the only thing we know for sure is that those two technology icons will not be merging (right now). Every other possibility and option for the two companies is up in the air. (One thing is for sure, Yahoo’s stock is already down more than 20 percent .)

There are no shortage of opinions:

** Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is “under the gun” to spend the $46 billion earmarked for Yahoo. (New York Post)

** Yahoo’s Jerry Yang and his crew were “elated” when Microsoft withdrew its offer — but their joy may be short-lived. (Los Angeles Times) (NOTE – Yang in his own blog vaguely addresses reports of celebration breaking out in Yahoo’s camp:  “No one is celebrating about the outcome of these past three months… and no one should.”)

Ballmer seals all Yahoo exits

ballmer-gestures.jpgMicrosoft dumped its offer to buy Yahoo on Saturday. A closer reading of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s letter to Yahoo’s Jerry Yang shows Microsoft is content to do nothing less than choke the air supply out of Yahoo’s trachea.

Consider these sweet bon mots in Ballmer’s letter, which is also a thinly veiled salvo at Google:

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

Semel, Kotick pass the buck on Yahoo’s future

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.

Time Warner’s cable division setting sail

time-warner-center.jpgTime Warner Inc’s plan to split off its cable services division – widely expected by many and welcomed by some — raises just as many questions as it answers.

When is the split going to take place, for instance? And how? And what does this mean for AOL? Is it next up for a separation? Remember, Time Warner has already held discussions to merge the AOL unit with Yahoo Inc.

(Speaking of which, The Wall Street Journal says Microsoft could be making its next move in the takeover saga for Yahoo as early as Wednesday. One possibility: nominate a proxy slate of directors to replace the board at Yahoo. Also, Microsoft has considered earnmarking $1.5 billion to retain Yahoo employees should it win the company, Reuters says.)

Why so hostile? Next steps in Microsoft-Yahoo saga

ballmer-in-thought.jpgMicrosoft’s weekend deadline to Yahoo to negotiate a friendly deal has come and gone. So, now what? Microsoft has its options. It could raise its bid, walk away, go hostile at a lower price or go hostile at the current price. Most Wall Street analysts think the last option is the most likely.

Separately, Marc Andreessen , co-founder of Netscape, provides a thorough breakdown of the options for Microsoft and Yahoo. Especially interesting is the part about a potential legal fight if Yahoo’s board decides to exercise its poison pill as a defense to a tender offer by Microsoft.

(Photo: Reuters/Christian Charisius)

What will Microsoft do about Yahoo?

poker.jpgThings could get complicated soon in the saga of Microsoft’s quest to acquire Yahoo, since the software makers deadline for what was origianlly seen as a friendly deal — at the right price — passed this weekend without Yahoo saying “I Do.”

Now, that amicable offer could get downright hostile. Analysts say they believe Microsoft is planning to launch a hostile bid at its current price of $31 per share in cash and stock.

Three weeks ago, Microsoft said it will go hostile, or even call off its bid, if Yahoo did not agree to a deal before this past weekend. Now, Microsoft executives are poised to play their next card.

Microsoft, Yahoo deadline looms

hourglass.jpgWith earnings reports for Yahoo and Microsoft out of the way, all eyes are now on Saturday, Microsoft’s deadline for Yahoo to accept its $43 billion offer.

And just in case Yahoo felt Ballmer’s comments were vague, Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell repeated: “We have yet to see tangible evidence that our bid substantially undervalues the company (Yahoo) … In fact, we see the opposite.”

Will they stay or will they go?

Alley Insider’s Henry Blodget is betting there’s a 60 percent chance Microsoft walks. After reporting a mixed quarter and below-target forecast, it’s looking unlikely Microsoft will raise its bid.

Microsoft turns up heat on Yahoo

ballmer-victory.jpgWill Microsoft stay and fight or dump its bid for Yahoo altogether?

Even as it mulls its next move, the software maker is cranking up the heat on Yahoo ahead of its Saturday deadline.

The software maker has lined up a proxy slate of candidates to nominate to Yahoo’s board in the event it pursues a hostile bid according to the Wall Street Journal. The list has 10 nominees and three alternates the paper said citing a person familiar with the matter.

Nominees include former Nextel Partners CEO John Chapple, from Grey Global Group CEO Edward Meyer, Jaynie Studenmund, the former COO at Overture Services, which was later acquired by Yahoo, and former Adelphia Communications Corp. Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Wittman, said the Journal.