An oddly timed announcement indeed… or not, given that the initial deal fell through on a Saturday evening. In a just-released statement, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) says on Friday it received a partial offer from Carl Icahn and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), that would involve the sale of the search business to Microsoft, while handing over the rest of the company to Carl Icahn. The company claims it was given a less-than 24-hour ultimatum, which would explain the timing of this announcement. What the company clearly wants is a full sale. The sub-headline of the release is even: Yahoo! Suggests Microsoft Make A Proposal To Acquire Whole Company. Of course, Yahoo has said a few times lately that it’s now willing to sell at that $33 price, but that Microsoft won’t revisit that offer. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this announcement is that it’s the first time Carl Icahn has endorsed a plan that doesn’t start with the goal of an outright sale. In fact, as Yahoo points out in the release, Icahn previous trashed the idea of a partial search deal with Microsoft, calling it a poison pill that eliminated Microsoft’s need to buy the whole thing. It seems that Icahn has adjusted to a new reality. Release.
This evening the company reiterates a number of familiar points. Namely, it believes its new Google (NSDQ: GOOG) deal is superior, and that the Microsoft/Icahn plan doesn’t offer shareholders adequate value, etc. It also calls it “absurd and irresponsible” that Microsoft and Icahn would negotiate plans for the future of the company without engaging Yahoo management, despite the complexity.
The big question: So Microsoft and Icahn gave Yahoo less than 24 hours to accept this offer, but what’s the consequence for rejecting it? Do they have a Plan B (or is it C)? Or is it just more back and forth press releases before the shareholder meeting?