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Yahoo! - Would Microsoft Ever Pay $50BN?

The New York Post's report that Microsoft is again contemplating a potential acquisition of Yahoo! has set the industry talking

The New York Post has done it again. Its report on Thursday that Microsoft is once more contemplating a potential acquisition of Yahoo! has set the industry on fire with rumors, views, and counterviews. Here we bring you a round-up of what's being said and written...

Let's start with the Post itself. Back in May of 2007, reporters Peter Lauria and Zachary Kuowe reported that "Microsoft has intensified its pursuit of a deal with Yahoo!, asking the company to re-enter formal negotiations."

Estimating the price tag of such an acquisition at about $50BN, the Post's analysis was as follows:

"As it stands now, a deal between Microsoft and Yahoo! would up the combined companies' share of the all-important search advertising market to 27 percent against Google's 65 percent. It would also narrow the gap in overall online ads with Google to just 13 percent."
But Lauria and Zachary also pinpointed a bigger picture:

"More importantly, a deal would create what one source described as "the dominant force on the Internet" in terms of eyeballs. That's an important consideration as more and more content flows online - as the equations goes, eyeballs equal advertising.

Microsoft and Yahoo! also feature complimentary offerings on the content side, with MSN drawing an older audience with its news focus. By contrast, Yahoo! attracts a younger demographic with its entertainment coverage.

Aside from cost savings, a deal would also create opportunities to use Yahoo! content on Microsoft devices, such as making music exclusively provided to Yahoo! Music available on Microsoft's Xbox game console and Zune music player."

Om Malik wrote about the original report that a Microsoft-Yahoo! merger would be "a bad idea":

"Marrying a company with Internet DNA (Yahoo) with another who can’t take a step forward without turning its neck twice (looking back at the PC) is not that easy. Will this deal become the 21st century version of AOL-Time Warner merger, and a high-water mark for the current boom?"

And then the Wall Street Journal put the whole debate to rest by reporting on May 5, 2007 that nothing was going to be happening:

"Microsoft and Yahoo discussed a possible merger or other matchup that would pair their respective strengths, say people familiar with the situation. The merger discussions are no longer active, these people say, but that doesn't preclude the two companies from some other form of cooperation."

Seven months on, it seems the New York Post has resumed the hunt for details of what might be afoot between the two giants. In an article (again by Peter Lauria) reporting on how Microsoft's "deal king," VP of corporate development Bruce Jaffe, was going to be leaving the company, the Post noted, tantalizingly:

"Sources close to Microsoft say the company is still debating if it should make last year's informal offer to buy Yahoo! official by going public with its bid."

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