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Yahoo! Formally Ends Acquisition Talks with Microsoft

Yahoo! Formally Ends Acquisition Talks with Microsoft

by , 7:15 PM EDT, June 12th, 2008

Yahoo! formally ended discussions with Microsoft regarding Big Redmond acquiring all or part of the search portal, and lest there be any ambiguity on the subject, issued a press release announcing that end Thursday. The company said Microsoft had withdrawn its offer to buy all of Yahoo!, while Yahoo! was not interested in selling its search-business to Microsoft.

"At that meeting," the company said in a statement, "Microsoft representatives stated unequivocally that Microsoft is not interested in pursuing an acquisition of all of Yahoo!, even at the price range it had previously suggested."

Microsoft had made an unsolicited buyout offer of some US$46 billion earlier in the year, a price that Microsoft's management and board of directors said did not fairly value the company. After blustery threats to launch a hostile takeover were met with corporate "mehs," Microsoft did not follow through with that plan.

In the meanwhile, corporate raider Carl Icahn launched his own effort to arrange for Microsoft to buy Yahoo!, going so far as to attempt a proxy battle to replace Yahoo!'s current board of directors with one of Mr. Icahn's choosing. When elected, their stated purpose was to carry through with a sale to Microsoft.

That, too, has largely gone nowhere, thanks in part to a poison pill provision Yahoo!'s board put into place that would award generous severance packages to Yahoo! employees that left or were fired after a corporate merger. Such a plan would have made a buyout extra-expensive, while simultaneously causing much of Yahoo!'s employee base to leave while the getting was profitable.

Despite Mr. Icahn's attempt at intervention, Yahoo! and Microsoft had continued discussions of other ways the companies could work together, as well as the possibility that Microsoft could buy part of Yahoo! without buying the whole company.

Alas, no more shall those talks continue.

"Yahoo!'s Board of Directors has determined," the company said, "after careful evaluation, that such a transaction would not be consistent with the company's view of the converging search and display marketplaces, would leave the company without an independent search business that it views as critical to its strategic future and would not be in the best interests of Yahoo! stockholders."

And that, as the saying goes, is that.

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