Yahoo's board is meeting by conference call Friday afternoon and the big topic of course, is Microsoft's $42.2 billion dollar bid.
The clock is ticking. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer threatened to stage a proxy fight to get the acquisition if the board doesn't take the bid, which it rejected as too low.
The board is also considering its other options: Time Warner is offering to fold its AOL division into Yahoo in exchange for roughly 20 percent of Yahoo stock.
Also, Rupert Murdoch has jumped into the fray. Yahoo is now also weighing an offer to combine with Microsoft's MSN and News Corp's MySpace to create a stand alone company.
So what's going to happen? All info points to Microsoft (alone) winning out. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster says his survey of 20 institutional Yahoo shareholders found most favor Microsoft's offer over no deal. Other analysts say that the Microsoft cash and stock offer is so clearly the most beneficial for Yahoo, they hope that the Internet giant doesn't lose this chance.
The question now: Will Microsoft sweeten its bid? MSFT's stock price has slipped, so the value of its offer has dropped from $31 to $29.34 a share. So can Yahoo use its new offers as leverage? We'll see.
One thing's for sure--all the bidders, Microsoft, News Corp, and Time Warner, are all eager to tap into Yahoo's Internet ad engine to better access the fast-growing online ad business and get a leg up on Google .
We probably won't hear a peep from the Yahoo board today (I hear they're not even talking until 5 pm eastern at the earliest), but we could next week. And no one's talking from any of the companies involved.
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