Shares of healthcare companies traded firm on Thursday, helping push the sectoral index up 1.4 percent to the top of the gainers’ list.
With Google looking like the big winner after doing an ad search deal with Yahoo, pretty much everyone else involved is looking like a loser. Microsoft will have to take its mammoth war chest and try to find another way to make a meaningful stab at the coveted online ad space — or concede the market altogether. Though Yahoo is waving enhanced revenue and cash flow figures around, the deal is seen as better for Google, which is the undisputed heavyweight champion in ad search and just gets a juicy space to show how mighty it is. “Google has made an enormous gain strategically. This move might well have shut Microsoft out of the online space altogether,” said Sanford Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay. Speculation is rising that the Yahoo/Google deal could provoke antitrust scrutiny, and Carl Icahn still has his troops massing to oust Jerry Yang and the Yahoo board. But if he had any clout to force Yahoo into a deal with Microsoft, it wasn’t on show yesterday. Did he lose cred, or does he plan to keep fighting? He may say soon, but probably not on his blog.
Talk about a friendly bid. InBev CEO Carlos Brito gushes about Bud in this video statement, making a $46.3 billion bid sound almost cheap. “We respect the Anheuser-Busch board a lot,” he said. “We admire them a lot and we think that the business rationale is very strong. But Bud shares are still trading well below the $65 per share offer, so skepticism abounds. With analysts calling for a bid closer to $70, expect at least a few more rounds.