Yahoo Again Spurns a Microsoft Offer

Michael J. De La Merced|The New York Times
Sunday, 13 Jul 2008 | 10:39 AM ET

Yahoo said Saturday night that it had rejected a renewed proposal by Microsoft, together with the activist investor Carl C. Icahn, to buy the Internet company’s search business.

The proposal, made Friday evening by Mr. Icahn and Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, was similar to a previous offer Yahoo had rejected.


Yahoo’s decision is another broadside between the company and Microsoft, two months after the software giant withdrew its $47.5 billion takeover offer. Microsoft had said Monday that it would be open to making another offer to buy part or all of Yahoo if its board were ousted.

Under the new plan, Yahoo was to have sold its search business to Microsoft. But this time, Mr. Icahn, who is waging a campaign to unseat Yahoo’s board, would have taken over the remaining parts of the company.

Mr. Icahn and Mr. Ballmer gave Yahoo 24 hours to make a decision, the company said in a statement. After a meeting of four to five hours with its financial and legal advisers, Yahoo’s board decided to reject the offer.

“It is ludicrous to think that our board could accept such a proposal,” Yahoo’s chairman, Roy Bostock, said in a statement. “While this type of erratic and unpredictable behavior is consistent with what we have come to expect from Microsoft, we will not be bludgeoned into a transaction that is not in the best interests of our stockholders.”

Yahoo reiterated that it was open to a sale of the whole company at $33 a share, a price that Microsoft had once offered but in recent weeks has spurned. It also said it would accept a sale of its search business, but on better terms.

Yahoo has entered a search advertising partnership with Google, which it could break by paying a fee.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft declined to comment.

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