Der … Umm … What $33-Per-Share Offer?
Get this. Yahoo (YHOO) didn’t accept Microsoft’s (MSFT) offer of $33-per-share, because it didn’t know Microsoft had offered $33-per-share. This according to people close to Yahoo, who claim that Yahoo only learned Microsoft was willing to raise its bid in Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s kiss-off letter to Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang. “We did not know what the offer was,” said one.
Meanwhile, another source close to Yahoo claims Microsoft has mischaracterized the negotiations between the two companies. “It is simply factually incorrect to make it seem as though we weren’t actively engaged in robust negotiations,” he told CNBC, stressing that Yahoo had embraced its fiduciary responsibilities, not shirked them as Microsoft would suggest. “Microsoft is lying,” he said. “How much communication do they want? They were upset because we wouldn’t accept a low-ball bid.”
But perhaps not as upset as Yahoo shareholders may be having just watched $14 billion evaporate into thin air because the company’s board suddenly claims not to have known what Microsoft’s offer was. You can almost hear the shareholder lawsuits being written. Said Stuart Grant, managing director at Grant & Eisenhofer, a law firm that specializes in bringing investor lawsuits: “I think it’s pretty hard for the Yahoo board to turn down $33 when they’ve shown no ability to turn around their stock price. There’s going to be breach-of-fiduciary-duty lawsuits, and I must tell you they are looking pretty good right now.”