Frenemies in the Yahoo-Microsoft Battle?
One of the more unusual situations in the current stand-off between Yahoo and Microsoft is the stress it has likely put on the longtime professional relationship and personal friendship between Yahoo President Sue Decker (pictured here) and Blackstone Group’s Jill Greenthal.
That’s because Greenthal (pictured here) is advising Microsoft on this deal, along with Chuck Cory and Paul Taubman of Morgan Stanley (who was actually Time Warner’s banker in its disastrous AOL deal).
Yahoo is being repped by Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Moelis & Company, an advisory boutique. All the firms on both sides stand to reap hundreds of millions in fees, if the deal is consummated.
Greenthal is a good pick for Microsoft to get the job done. She has a long-time knowledge of Yahoo, having worked with the company when she was at the Credit Suisse Group on the $1.45 billion purchase of Overture, one of Yahoo’s smarter purchases.
And her ties to Decker go back even further, when Greenthal was a banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. The pair worked together frequently at DLJ, where Decker was an analyst and research director before heading to Yahoo.
Back in 2003, in a BusinessWeek profile of Decker, Greenthal noted about Decker’s tenure at DLJ: “[Executives] didn’t always like her opinions of their company or industry, but they respected her.”
A source in Silicon Valley who knows both Decker and Greenthal said that the two have avoided speaking since the unsolicited Microsoft bid was launched by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an evening phone call to Yahoo CEO and Co-Founder Jerry Yang two weeks ago.
But one might also imagine their bond could also become a critical bridge in bringing the companies to finally make a deal, as many big shareholders are urging and Yahoo has been resisting.