Jerry made his feelings clear at Web 2.0 yesterday: Yahoo is happy to sell, but, frankly, Microsoft doesn’t give a damn.
“To this day, I have to say that the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo,” he said. “But at the end of the day, they withdrew and they since have been very clear about not wanting to buy the company.”
We suspect something will happen on the Yahoo-Microsoft front in the next month or so, probably more talks about a search combination to replace the one Yahoo just lost. But any search deal is likely to be worse than the one Yahoo passed on last summer, in which Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo’s search technology for $1 billion, guarantee revenue for a decade, and buy $8 billion of Yahoo stock at $35 a share ($35 a share!).
If we were Steve, and we occasionally wondered whether we shouldn’t just snap up Yahoo after all, we’d wait a bit. We’d also let Yahoo come to us. (If necessary, we’d have our banker let Yahoo’s banker know that, in his opinion, we might be willing to listen if Yahoo had something to say.) We’d listen for a few minutes to see if Yahoo had had a major attitude readjustment. We’d let them throw out the first number (mid-to-high $20s), and then we’d shake our head, extend our hand, and say, “no, thanks.”
And then, when Yahoo’s crew was flying back to Sunnyvale, we’d tell the banker “$20.”
(Actually, if WE were Steve, we wouldn’t do that. We’d do the deal both companies should have been pursuing all along: spinning Microsoft’s online businesses and some cash into Yahoo in exchange for a majority stake. This structure would be far more likely to create a successful company.)
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