Yahoo! is feeling cornered after Microsoft made its takeover bid last week. The Yahoo! board said it would take its time to review the Microsoft bid. They haven’t acted on the bid yet.
The New York Times posted an article reviewing the current situation with some great commentary from Wall Street analysts. The article also explores some other options open to Yahoo! if they decide to decline the Microsoft bid, including an advertising partnership with Google, courting other buyers, or forcing a leveraged buyout to take the company private.
Some highlights from the article:
But if Yahoo spurns Microsoft, analysts believe it probably will have to swallow its pride and forge an advertising partnership with Google if the alliance could win antitrust clearance.
Under this scenario, Yahoo would rely on Google to run its search engine while joining thousands of other Web sites that depend on the Internet search leader for a steady stream of ad revenue generated from text-based links that produce commissions with every click.
But getting Google’s advertising help probably wouldn’t be enough to trump Microsoft’s offer by itself. To placate shareholders, Yahoo probably would have to line up enough money to pay a special dividend or perhaps even take the company private in a leveraged buyout.
The list of so-called ”white knights” willing to come to Yahoo’s rescue appears to be dwindling. Several of the most logical candidates, including News Corp., AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., reportedly have no interest in trying to top Microsoft’s bid.
Yahoo’s board conceivably could even turn down Microsoft on the grounds that the current offer grossly undervalues the company, given its stock traded as high as high as $34.08 in late October.
If Yahoo assumes that stance, it might provoke a showdown at its annual meeting in a few months. Microsoft has until March 13 to nominate its own slate of directors if it tries to seize control of Yahoo’s board.
What do you think Yahoo should do? Should they take the Microsoft offer, partner with Google, or something else? Let us know.
I personally like the suggestion made by the Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post, who “believes Yahoo should dangle the prospect of a Google partnership to persuade Microsoft to raise its bid and then accept the higher offer.” Microsoft could call their bluff believing that either Yahoo won’t approach Google or that regulators would deny the partnership on anti-trust grounds. I don’t believe they would call the bluff though. I think Microsoft is just too eager to get this deal done.