Blog Post

MSFT-YHOO-Icahn: A Search Ad Deal? A Search Acquisition?

Microsoft and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) couldn’t make their breakup stick, but maybe they’re not yet ready to move in with each other. A day after announcing their return to the negotiating table, it’s still not clear what kind of relationship they have in mind. One thing that seems clear: Carl Icahn, as reported by CNBC, is not going to be happy with some silver-medal deal that doesn’t involve a sale of Yahoo to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). He didn’t spend $1 billion or so on shares only to see Yahoo hand over its search advertising to Microsoft, as some reports have suggested.

Meanwhile, the latest from Reuters is kind of exotic sounding. Follow along: “Microsoft Corp’s alternative proposal for Yahoo Inc involves Microsoft buying Yahoo’s search business and taking a minority passive stake in the company, once Yahoo has spun off its Asian assets, a person familiar with the discussions said on Monday.” Not clear: how a spinoff of the Asian assets factor into it. The report adds that this is still preliminary and that Microsoft hasn’t put a dollar value on Yahoo’s search assets. Generally though, this would be along the lines as initial reports from yesterday.

Facebook rumors: Regardless of what happens with Yahoo, rumors of a Facebook acquisition will keep flaring up from time to time. While in Japan, CEO Mark Zuckberberg told Reuters: “You can tell, from our history and what we’ve done, that we really wanted to keep the company independent, by focusing on building and focusing on the long-term.” That really doesn’t mean much once you parse away the rhetoric. If Microsoft were really going to spend $20 billion on Facebook (and I’ll believe that when I wake up to the press release), all that ‘building and focusing’ could easily go by the wayside.