Yahoo responded late last night to Microsoft’s statement that it had proposed a new deal but something less than a full acquisition. The Yahoo response was boilerplate and bland and betrayed nothing about Yahoo’s potential receptiveness to a scaled-back deal. The speculation and rumor is that Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo’s search business and/or that some sort of joint venture might be on the table.
The new proposal from Microsoft after it had “moved on” reflects that the company still thinks it needs Yahoo’s reach — at least in search. But we’ll have to wait until concrete details emerge. On the other side of the table, Yahoo’s potential willingness to do a partial deal with Microsoft might be motivated by pressure from investor Carl Icahn and his proxy initiative to unseat Yahoo’s board.
A related rumor is that Microsoft is going to also attempt to acquire Facebook. I think this would be good for both sides, especially Facebook. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today that he wanted the company to remain independent.