A reprieve of sorts for Yahoo! today with widespread reports that an apparent decision on Microsoft's next step in its unsolicited bid for the online leader was supposed to come at 4 pm EDT.
However, my sources close to Microsoft tell me the odds are "significantly against" such a move, with a possibility of a pre-market announcement coming Friday morning.
That would stand to reason since last week, Microsoft said it would talk about its next steps at some point this week, and "this week" is over tomorrow. But now I'm hearing that Monday would be a preferred day to launch a hostile bid and even go so far as to name a slate of directors to replace those sitting in those Yahoo chairs today.
Why Monday? Because it won't give Yahoo a chance to breathe with the onslaught of headlines and media frenzy news like that could generate. Make the news today, or even tomorrow, and it gives Yahoo a chance to spend a couple of days digesting, ruminating, plotting and planning its next move.
Make the move on Monday, and the company will be faced with endless phone ringing from reporters--and endless hand-wringing by investors--wondering what the company will do next. Monday news would put the screws into Yahoo and give the company a harsher taste of the kind of pressure Microsoft is willing to enlist to move this deal forward.
Which is precisely what I'm hearing from a number of Yahoo employees who have a surprising twist in all this--even as some Microsoft workers have publicly expressed disdain for the deal. These employees have told me that they're actually in favor of a deal. Not thrilled with Microsoft, but looking forward to any partnership that could help unseat Google as the industry leader. Interesting. The classic "my enemy's enemy is my friend?" Sure sounds that way.
Meantime, anything can happen. Steve Ballmer could make a few phone calls and get this news out today. Right now. Or tonight. Or Saturday afternoon around 2 pm. The fact is, his is the only time-table that matters. We in the media may be clamoring for a deal. Investors may be clamoring for a deal.
But there's no pressure. Yahoo has to hold a shareholder's meeting by July 12, per the incorporation articles in Delaware where the company is incorporated. So conceivably, Microsoft could wait all the way 'til then, nominate its own slate, and take control. This could easily stretch until mid-summer. Hope it doesn't, but it could.
We can all prognosticate, predict, wonder and complain about when the news may or may not happen. And lots of people "close to the situation" claim to have the details and can't wait to share them with those in the media.
So I'll throw my hat into the ring with sources of my own, "close to the situation," who tell me not to expect the news today. And because Friday makes little sense, not to expect anything tomorrow either. The bet's on Monday. Or not. Or maybe. I guess we'll see.
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