Key points on Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) bid for Yahoo:
— The price: The offering price is $44.6 billion of $31 per share, consisting of one half cash and one half stock. This represents a 62 percent premium to Yahoo’s (NSDQ: YHOO) Jan 31 close of $19.18 per share. The last time the stock closed above 31 was November 5, 2007.
— History: A deal along these lines has been rumored for at least 18 months, with various analysts and media sources predicting such a move. Most recently, it was mentioned by the New York Post, which had pushed this several times in the past. The announcement from Microsoft suggests that the first talks between the companies occurred in late 2006.
— Synergies: Microsoft believes the combination will create synergies in four key areas: scale created by a larger audience, combined engineering talent, cost savings through redundancies, and innovation in video and mobile.
— Time frame: While the actual integration of the companies would undoubtedly be an arduous process, Microsoft expects that the deal would close, with all of the necessary regulatory approval, by the second half of 2008. Microsoft may be right, but expect regulators to take this purchase seriously, particularly on the other side of the Atlantic. At the moment, however, the EU states that it has no comment on the proposed tie-up… not surprising, since nothing is official yet.
— Yahoo’s reaction: Not much for now. The company has released a brief statement saying its board will carefully evaluate the offer.
— Major shareholders: Co-founder David Filo last reported a stake of 78.2 million shares or 6 percent of the company. CEO Jerry Yang appears to have around 53 million shares, or 4 percent of the total, through family and trusts. The largest institutional shareholder is Bill Miller’s Legg Mason Value Trust, which owns over 118 million shares, representing over 8 percent of the company.