What would Sunday afternoon/evening be lately without more intrigue in the MicroHoo drama? Today was no exception as Redmond issued a cryptic statement that says it’s offering to join forces with or acquire some of Yahoo — potentially the search business — in a deal short of the total acquisition previously contemplated.
Here’s the full text of the statement issued by Microsoft:
“In light of developments since the withdrawal of the Microsoft proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft announced that it is continuing to explore and pursue its alternatives to improve and expand its online services and advertising business. Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo! Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo! at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo! or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft or with other third parties.
“There of course can be no assurance that any transaction will result from these discussions.”
Here’s the substantive language: “Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo!.” What precisely this means is really anyone’s guess at the moment. But since Microsoft was partly looking to gain share in search through a Yahoo acquisition, we have to assume that this targets search in some way.
There are other scenarios, including joint ventures or ad deals that bring adCenter ads into Yahoo search results, similar to what is being proposed with Google.
Yahoo is back at the table — assuming that it is — no doubt because of Carl Icahn’s proxy pressure on Yahoo’s board and the fact that a number of institutional Yahoo shareholders are angry that there wasn’t a deal with Microsoft.
Danny was proposing to retire this section, called “Microsoft & Yahoo Merger,” when Microsoft apparently walked away from Yahoo last week. It appears now that was perhaps wishful thinking and a wee bit premature.
Here’s more coverage at Techmeme.