Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Hijacked Yahoo! from the Inside (Updated)

"You don't need to buy the company, just destroy them and then take their business."

--Duncan 'Dragons Den' Bannatyne



In this latest chapter, there are negotiations for the acquisition of Yahoo's search business. A reader of ours once again points out that a patent which acts as anti-Google kryptonite might be the motive. The patent can be found here and some analysis here: "Google's SEC filings mention a "fully-paid, perpetual license," but they omit the word non-revocable. Patent license terms often include non-revocable in addition to perpetual. Perpetual seems to indicate non-revocability but it really does not. It is unreasonable to expect Google's high-powered lawyers to miss the word non-revocable, so Google's license to the '361 patent is revocable."

For background about this Yahoo! saga, see our previous coverage and analysis, which includes:



There is a lot more in the posts above (including evidence of control being seized from the inside), so that won't be repeated here.

It was probably predictable. This type of deal was coming following a lot of agitation from Microsoft and 'injection' of its own people into Yahoo. Here is another lost boss for Yahoo (from Friday).

Coppel will stay for the handover to his replacement and leave the company in the first quarter of 2009.

Sue Decker, president of Yahoo! Inc, said, “The appointment of Rich Riley represents the next phase in the evolution of our European and Canadian businesses, enabling us to build on the great foundations laid by Toby Coppel.


Microsoft must be aiming at overthrowing the opposition from Yahoo and taking control from the inside rather than from the outside. Yang jumped in after Terry Semel had shown signs of weakness.

Speculations grew just before the American holiday began, particularly because Icahn, whom Microsoft communicates with and probably uses in what's known as a "proxy battle", made his move.

Talks with Microsoft are rumoured to be still going on - possibly just for its search business. And presumably Steve Ballmer is offering a lot less than $33 a share.

Yang's supposed preferred response, an ad deal with Google, has also fallen through.


Here is MarketWatch's report about it.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Icahn purchased roughly 6.8 million shares in Yahoo...


Lastly, from the Los Angeles Times: Yahoo stock rallies after Carl Icahn increases stake

The company's stock surged 93 cents, or nearly 9%, to $11.51 in the shortened trading session after Icahn, a Yahoo board member who has been pushing a strategy shift or a sale to Microsoft Corp., said he had bought about 6.8 million shares.


There are some other new sightings of Microsoft/Yahoo.

All in all, this has been a brutal and despicable display of power. Some of the moves involved should be illegal and considered white-collar crime.

Update: that original report is being challenged and even refuted now.

A report in the Sunday Times that Microsoft Inc is in talks with Yahoo Inc to buy the U.S. internet company's online search business for $20 billion is "total fiction," according to a key executive cited by an influential U.S. blog.

The Sunday Times, which did not cite its sources, said the proposal under discussion involves a complex transaction that would see the U.S. software giant support a new management team to take control of Yahoo.

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