Discover what's up in the business of marketing each Friday.
Icahn To Make Yahoo Move; Google Worries Yahoo Will Learn From Ad Deal
More rumors about
yesterday’s news that Carl Icahn may want to take control of Yahoo. He
apparently plans to nominate 10 directors to replace Yahoo’s board later today,
reports the Wall Street Journal, using an unnamed source. But Microsoft
might no longer be interested in Yahoo. Plus, that
Google-Yahoo ad deal?
Turns out Google might be nervous that Yahoo might learn too much from it and
become a threat to Google.
Let’s do Icahn first. From the WSJ article:
Mr. Icahn, who bought roughly 50 million Yahoo shares since
Microsoft withdrew its offer, spent the past few days deliberating the proxy
move before deciding Wednesday, one of the people familiar with the matter
said. One reason for the deliberation is that Microsoft has suggested it has
moved on and doesn’t plan to consider any new proposal from Yahoo.
People close to the matter said Mr. Icahn failed to get a
response from Microsoft about its interest in restarting acquisition talks. He
elected to proceed because he views a deal with Microsoft as beneficial to
both companies and one that executives would come to embrace. People close to
the matter said Mr. Icahn has hired D.F. King, a proxy company, to work on a
similar news from its own sources.
The report says that Google and Yahoo continue talking about an ad deal, and that
this is likely to happen but not this week. I liked this part:
One of the people said some people at Google have concerns about
advertising-related data Google might share with Yahoo under such an
arrangement and Yahoo’s ability to use that data to improve its own search
advertising system to Google’s competitive disadvantage over time.
Yep. My "I told you so" moment to those who thought the deal was all to
Google’s benefit. From my
Leaving Las Yahoo:
Microsoft’s $5 Billion Mistake? article:
Ballmer’s letter then attempts to knock down Yahoo’s plans blow-by blow:
First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo!’s own strategy and
long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to
your Panama paid search system.
Not necessarily. I was one
who thought Yahoo
would be shooting itself in the foot by dumping its own ad program. But if
Yahoo’s management wants to stay independent, sacrificing paid search is a way
to do this. That’s because it might be only a short-term sacrifice.
By accounts, Yahoo is not exclusively going to use Google’s ads. It will
continue to use its own system in addition to Google’s. Taking on Google lets
Yahoo buy some time to learn and improve its existing system and play catch-up
to Google. (As a side note, it’s just weird to see Yahoo talking about the
"Panama" paid search system — a code name for improvements to the Yahoo
Search Marketing system
that were rolled out
over a year ago. Still using the code name just feels out-of-touch. But
maybe Yahoo is continuing to use it as well….)
My read of this is Ballmer saying that Yahoo working with Google would mean
it is not serious about the search ads side of the house. Perhaps that
fear-mongering will work. But then again, working with Google provides an
attractive challenge to Yahoo employees that they cannot get from Microsoft.
They can work with a search volume well above that of Microsoft’s, plus
actively see how what they are doing compares to Google monetization.
For more, see our past coverage of the
saga here, including these recent stories:
- Can Icahn Or
Microsoft Stop Google’s "Natural Monopoly"
- Google Executives
Defend Potential Yahoo Search Deal, Microsoft Releases "Proxy Directors" And
Looks Beyond Search And "The Last Click"
- Microsoft &
Facebook Do Mating Dance As Microsoft Seeks Alternatives To Yahoo; Google Now
Uncertain On Yahoo?
- Aftermath: Yahoo
Still Open To Deals; Stock Largely Survives
- Yahoo Next Steps:
Google Deal, AOL Purchase, & Pleasing Investors
- Leaving Las Yahoo:
Microsoft’s $5 Billion Mistake?
And see related coverage