Speaking in Morocco (Morocco?), Steve Ballmer launches phase 2 of Microsoft’s damage control and expectations-management around Yahoo’s earnings (YHOO). Specifically, he suggests Yahoo’s Q1 results, no matter how good, won’t change Yahoo’s value to Microsoft.
What Steve is trying to do here, of course, is suggest that Microsoft won’t raise its bid after Yahoo reports a strong quarter, which it is now widely expected to do. But note that that’s not exactly what he said:
“We think we can accelerate our strategy by buying Yahoo and will pay what makes sense for our shareholders,” Ballmer said. “I wish Yahoo all the success with its results, but it doesn’t affect the value of Yahoo to Microsoft.”
“Doesn’t affect the value of Yahoo to Microsoft…” That’s not, “We won’t raise our bid no matter what they report.” Who’s to say what Yahoo’s real value to Microsoft is? Certainly Steve Ballmer hasn’t said it. We suspect it’s about $35 a share.
Phase 1 of Microsoft’s Yahoo-Earnings Damage Control Strategy, of course, was to condition the market to expect a strong quarter (which this, Yahoo’s own behaviour, and Yahoo’s announcement through the New York Post this morning have done). And now Phase 2 is to suggest that the quarter won’t make a difference.
Ah, but it will, it will.
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