Microsoft no longer interested in buyout, Yahoo official says


Fri, May 30, 2008 - Page 10

Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang (楊致遠) said on Wednesday that Microsoft was “no longer interested” in buying the pioneering Internet firm, but was considering “other partnerships.”

Yang also maintained that Yahoo was “not under siege,” despite a threatened stockholder revolt led by billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn.

Yang’s comments came during a speech at an “All Things Digital” conference organized by the Wall Street Journal in the southern California city of Carlsbad.

“Microsoft is no longer interested in buying the company and they are discussing various other partnerships with us,” Yang said, echoing comments made the prior evening by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. “We are listening.”

Yang implied that sparring that took place between the companies while Microsoft’s nearly US$50 billion offer was on the table has given way to talks aimed at finding a way for them to work together.

Microsoft could have taken a “much more hostile” tack and tried to oust the Yahoo board of directors that rebuffed advances by the Redmond, Washington-based software giant, Yang said.

Yang stressed that it was Microsoft, not Yahoo, that walked away from the bargaining table.

Microsoft said it broke off takeover talks late last month after it upped its Feb. 1 bid of US$44.6 billion by US$3 billion and Yahoo’s board still wanted more.

Yang defended the board’s handling of failed takeover talks with Microsoft and pleaded anew the case that the struggling Internet firm was poised to recapture its former glory and a bigger share of online advertising dollars.

Microsoft wanted to buy Yahoo to better take on Google, which dominates the lucrative world of Internet search and advertising.

“They definitely have an interest in Yahoo,” Yang said of Microsoft. “With the right circumstances, not only price, our board is open.”