Yahoo! CEO Says Company Is Not “Under Siege” & Confirms Microsoft No Longer Interested In Full Buyout

Posted May 29, 2008

CEO of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Jerry Yang and CEO of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Steve Ballmer both spoke at The Wall Street Journal All Things D Conference in Carlsbad, Calif. earlier today.  During Yang’s interview, he was asked several questions revolving around Yahoo!’s plight with the Microsoft bid, Yahoo!’s overall focus, and what is going on with Yahoo!’s shareholders.

“The perception of us being a company under siege is just not accurate,” stated Yang.  Yang stated this in reference to the previous news of Carl Icahn sending a letter to the board suggesting a new board for the company.  Icahn is a major shareholder in the search engine company.

“I know people want to see results,” added Yang. “But I think we’re starting to show Yahoo can be on this path to being a different entity.”

Why did Icahn suggest a new board?  Because Yahoo! passed on the acqusition offer from Microsoft.  Microsoft offered $47 billion, but Yang was looking for roughly $52 billion.  Then Microsoft walked.

“We did not walk away from the proposal â?? Microsoft did,” Yang stated in reference to the deal. “We were willing to do the deal on the right terms.”

Founder of News Corp., Rupert Murdoch stated that he doubts that his company will do a deal with Yahoo! now because the price would be too high. 

“I think that (Yang) did not want to sell,” stated Murdoch regarding Yahoo!’s turning down the $47 billion offer on a FOX News interview. “He founded this company, he loves it, he loves running at. And, you know, I think he can be criticized and he is being criticized by his shareholders. For letting his emotions stop him (from) taking what was a very, very generous offer.”

During the All Things D conference, Ballmer stated that “We are not rebidding for the company.” And then Ballmer mentioned that “We reserve the right to do so.”

In response to the entire media craze with the bid event, Yang compared who got the information accurate to high school relationships.  “It’s like you break up with your girlfriend in high school … it pretty quickly becomes ‘he said, she said,'” stated Yang.

Yang was also questioned about “What is the business of Yahoo?”  Yang stated that the core focus was “home page, mail, search, and mobile.”  Then Yahoo! President, Sue Decker stepped in and emphasized that advertising is a key focus on the business of Yahoo! too. 

Below is a timeline of the Microsoft & Yahoo! events:

June 2007: Former Yahoo! CEO, Terry Semel Resigns, Jerry Yang steps up
July 2007: Yang makes a 100 day plan to get Yahoo! off the ground again
February 1, 2008: Microsoft makes an unsolicited offer to Yahoo! for $44.6 billion
February 9, 2008: Yahoo! passes on Microsoft offer
February 11, 2008: Rumor is that Yahoo! may merge with AOL
February 12, 2008: Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer sends a letter to Yahoo! â??Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!â??s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.â?
February 13, 2008: Layoff notices are given at Yahoo! Ryan Kuder Twitters the entire event
April 4, 2008: Rumors begin to appear that Microsoft is deciding to pull the offer
April 5, 2008: Microsoft sends a letter to Yahoo! stating that they may work out a separate deal with shareholders if a decision isnâ??t made.
April 7, 2008: Yahoo! Announces their AMP! advertising platform and stated that they want more money from Microsoft
April 10, 2008: Rumors appear that News Corp. AOL, and Google all want to arrange deals with Yahoo!
April 12, 2008: Capital Research & Management invests $2 billion more in Yahoo! shares giving them ownership of $6 billion worth of the company
April 30, 2008: Rumor appears Microsoft increases the amount that theyâ??re willing to spend
May 4, 2008: Microsoft walks away from the negotiation table after YahoO! demands too much of a high price for Microsoft
May 4, 2008: Yahoo! responds by saying that through this experience, Yahoo! emerged as a stronger, more focused company
May 7, 2008: Yahoo! & Google become more serious about Google Ads appearing on Yahoo!
May 14, 2008: Major Yahoo! shareholder, Carl Icahn steps in and calls the Yahoo! Board irrational
May 20, 2008: Microsoft makes an offer to buy Yahoo!â??s Search Advertising Business for an undisclosed amount
May 23, 2008: Yahoo! Director, Edward Kozel resigns to â??spend more time with familyâ?
May 23, 2008: Yahoo! postpones shareholder meeting for the second time
May 28, 2008: Jerry Yang claims company isn’t under siege and Microsoft is no longer interested in buying out the whole company at All Things D conference 

Information Sources:
[1] Associated Press: Yahoo CEO says company is not ‘under siege’ by Allison Hoffman
[2] Reuters: Yahoo says Microsoft no longer keen to merge
[3] TechCrunch: Jerry Yang: “We’re Done” by Michael Arrington