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Looks like Yahoo’s Jerry Yang’s ham-handed handling of the Microsoft offer is coming back to bite him. At a Friday business lunch in Australia, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft (s MSFT), put on the airs of a spurned lover and told luncheon attendees that he wasn’t buying Yahoo (s YHOO), although he might consider a search engine partnership. The Associated Press quotes Ballmer as saying:
“We made an offer, we made another offer, and it was clear that Yahoo didn’t want to sell the business to us and we moved on,” Ballmer said. “We are not interested in going back and re-looking at an acquisition. I don’t know why they would be either, frankly. They turned us down at $33 a share.”
Well it looks like Ballmer is reading his advice columns and standing up for his self-esteem. Either that or his lawyers have had a quick chat with him after his comments a few weeks ago, when he said a Yahoo deal still made sense economically.
Yahoo’s shares, which ended Thursday’s session at $13.96 a share, look like a bargain, and on Wednesday, Yang even said he’d do a deal with Microsoft after a search partnership with Google (s GOOG) fell through. The question now becomes whether Yahoo would lower itself to a search partnership with Microsoft or if it will try to hold out for marriage. If the two companies let hurt feelings stand in the way of a partnership or a deal, it’s Google that wins.