Posted by: Rob Hof on June 24, 2008
Mike Arrington at TechCrunch is reporting that Microsoft is again talking with Yahoo about a full buyout, though Arrington admits his information is “thin.” One source I talked to, however, is adamant that there are no such talks on. That’s what CNBC is hearing, too.
CNET is reporting that the talks could be about a search deal, the first version of which Yahoo rejected before signing a deal on June 12 with Google instead. Maybe. Henry Blodget at Silicon Alley Insider thinks that’s more likely, though only on better terms, naturally. But it seems doubtful the prospects for the more limited search deal are what’s driving Yahoo’s stock price up by about 3% today, though that’s down from an initial spike of more than 10% on the rumor.
For now, at least, Yahoo’s position has clearly weakened, as investors have tanked the stock nearly to the $19-and-change where it sat before Microsoft’s unsolicited buyout offer on Feb. 1, and as a stream of managers and executives have left Yahoo in recent weeks after the last talks with Microsoft broke down. So I would not be surprised if Yahoo felt compelled to look at a new offer of some kind from Microsoft.
But I’m betting that if Microsoft is still interested in Yahoo at all—and that’s debatable, since it does seem that its ardor cooled considerably as the months of talks went by with no deal—it’s just as happy to watch Yahoo twist in the wind a bit longer before making another run.