C'Mon, You Know You Want It, Steve …
Microsoft’s unsolicited acquisition bid for Yahoo is apparently looking more attractive to the now-minor Internet major, especially since Carl Icahn has mounted a full-fledged fight for the nine seats now on Yahoo’s board.
Sources close to Yahoo (YHOO) say the company would likely agree to an acquisition if the price is right. Trouble is, Microsoft (MSFT) doesn’t seem to be interested in one anymore.
Or at least that’s the way it would like to be perceived. Speaking at an event in Moscow, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once again feigned disinterest in an outright acquisition. “Yahoo was never the strategy we were pursuing, it was a way to accelerate our online advertising business,” he said. “We will spend money on some acquisitions. You can do a whole lot of things with $50 billion.”
You sure can. Like spend $47.5 billion of it on Yahoo, just as you planned to last month–even though, as BoomTown’s Kara Swisher reports, Chairman Bill Gates harbored little enthusiasm for buying Yahoo.
But that may happen yet. Some inside Microsoft say the software company would still like to acquire Yahoo, it just doesn’t want to pay the $37-a-share or so Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and Co. are reportedly demanding. And it may not have to, if Icahn and other ornery Yahoo investors like Legg Mason Capital Management (LM) force Yahoo’s hand.