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Legg Mason Ready To Support Independent Yahoo If Microsoft Lowers Bid

The second-largest Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) shareholder Legg Mason (LM) is offering a ray of hope for the company, sort of: LM portfolio manager Bill Miller told WSJ his firm is prepared to support an independent Yahoo, should Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) lower its offer, as it threatened to do this weekend. Legg Mason is the second biggest shareholder in the company, with about 7 percent of Yahoo shares as of Dec. 31, after Capital Research & Management.

Miller said the original $31-per-share value of Microsoft’s offer was also too low because it was an initial bid, and he didn’t recall many unfriendly takeovers where the final price was the opening bid. Of course, another negotiating tactic on the fund’s part. He also said that if MSFT ups the offer, “the pressure shifts very quickly to Yahoo to negotiate”.

“If Microsoft lowers the price I’m not prepared to say that’s better than Yahoo remaining independent,” he said.