Minus Succor from Google, Yahoo Is Still Open to a Deal with Microsoft
Under fire since failing to come to terms with Microsoft on an acquisition for Yahoo, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang braves the crowd at Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Among other things, Yang said he'd still strike a deal with Microsoft, though one is not pending; Google bailed; and the Department of Justice doesn't grasp the online advertising space.
SAN FRANCISCO-Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said he
regrets that Yahoo and Microsoft couldn't come to terms on a merger earlier this
year and that the best thing for Microsoft to do would be to buy Yahoo.
Yang, speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit Nov. 5, exhibited a Zen-like calm for a leader under fire for the last several months. The statements, made to a packed house at the Palace Hotel, seem startling given that Yang was reported to be thoroughly opposed to joining Microsoft.
Still, in answer to Web 2.0 Summit co-host John Battelle's question about what happened with the Microsoft takeover bid, Yang said, "To this day I would say the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo. I don't think that is a bad idea at all."
Battelle broke in, suggesting "just at $40 per share," which was what Yang and the rest of Yahoo's board asked Microsoft to pay when Microsoft made its $33-per-share bid Jan. 31. "Oh no, I think that at the right price, whatever the price is, we were willing to sell the company."
Yang added the Microsoft walked away from the offer. Yang's stance clashes spectacularly with the legacy of media coverage of the back-and-forth between the companies after the deal collapsed. Many media outlets quoted sources close to Yahoo as saying that Yang was fiercely determined to keep Yahoo as an independent company.
Reports said Yang was particularly adamant about not doing such a deal with Microsoft, which is a traditional software company trying to become a provider of popular Web services. That, of course, is what Yahoo became famous for.
Google swooped in to the rescue. Google and Yahoo June 12 struck a search ad deal proposal designed to both enable Google search keywords to run alongside Yahoo results and keep Microsoft at bay.
When the U.S. Department of Justice pushed back on the deal because it believed the deal wouldn't maintain a level of fair competition in online advertising, and seemingly balked at Google and Yahoo's concessions, Google bailed.