I'm Sorry, Jerry, Did You Mean Our Offer "Substantially Overvalues" Yahoo?
Microsoft may have fallen short of expectations for third-quarter sales, but it met and exceeded them for color commentary on the Yahoo deal.
On a post-earnings conference call this afternoon, Microsoft (MSFT) CFO Chris Liddell said Yahoo (YHOO), which insists Microsoft’s $31-per-share hostile offer “massively undervalues” it, has “unrealistic expectations” about its worth. “Our initial offer was extremely generous, more than a 100% premium for Yahoo’s core business, and our view on value is shaped by the long-term value of the company, and we intend to remain disciplined in our approach,” Liddell said. “The strongest argument that I’ve heard on why we should increase our bid–simply that we can afford to–is not one that I favor. We’ve yet to see tangible evidence that our bid substantially undervalues the company. In fact, we see the opposite. Yahoo continues to lose search share, and profitablity continues to decline year-on-year.”
It sure does. Yahoo’s operating income for the first quarter of 2008 was $121 million–a 28% decrease compared to $169 million for the same period of 2007. But then, Microsoft doesn’t want Yahoo for its profits; it wants it to make its own advertising platform more successful. Is that worth more than $31-per-share? Liddell clearly doesn’t seem to think so. “Unless we make progress with Yahoo toward an agreement by this weekend, we will reconsider our alternatives,” he said. “We will provide updates as appropriate next week. These alternatives clearly include taking an offer to Yahoo shareholders or to withdraw our proposal and focus on other opportunities, both organic and inorganic.”