The Big Picture: The Microsoft and Yahoo Saga

Dennis Faas's picture

Carl Icahn recently announced he was initiating a hostile takeover for Yahoo, and Microsoft released a statement on Saturday that they would be open to a transaction with their rival after backing off from their own takeover bid earlier this year. (Source:

This is just the latest development in a saga that has lasted so long you need a scorecard to keep track of the drama. So in the spirit of helping you navigate this epic boardroom battle, we are proud to present Infopackets' "A Brief History of the Yahoo Takeover Bid" Part 1.

  • January 31, 2008: Microsoft CEO makes a late night phone call to Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang that he will announce an unsolicited bid for Yahoo in the morning. Yang and board reportedly work through the night to discuss strategy (Source:
  • February 1, 2008: Microsoft makes an unsolicited bid for Yahoo! worth 44.6 billion dollars. At the time, Yahoo's shares hovered around $19.18 USD, the takeover offer equaled a 62% premium of about $31-per-share. Yahoo says it will consider the offer.
  • February 11, 2008: Yahoo's issues a press release rejecting Microsoft's offer. In a letter to Ballmer, Yang says he and the board believes the offer seriously undervalues the company.
  • February 11, 2008: After the close of business on the same day as Yahoo's rejection letter, Microsoft releases a press release saying it has not given up and will pursue "all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in [Microsoft's] proposal. (Source:
  • April 5, 2008: Two months after the first salvos were fired, Ballmer sends a letter addressed to Yang and the Yahoo Board of Directors. In the letter, Ballmer argues that Microsoft' initial offer is still Yahoo's best option and threatens a proxy contest if the two sides do not begin negotiations for a sale. Deadline is set for April 26 to begin negotiations. (Source:
  • April 7, 2008: Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock responds to Microsoft's offer and politely refuses yet again. The company also announces it is exploring "strategic alternatives to maximize stockholder value". (Source:
  • April 9, 2008: Yahoo announces it will conduct limited tests of Google's AdSense program on Yahoo's search pages. Microsoft responds by arguing that an agreement between the two companies would give Google a monopoly in the search advertising market. (Source:
  • April 16, 2008: Rumors abound that Rupert Murdoch may line up with Microsoft to help the software company acquire Yahoo. (Source:
  • April 22, 2008: Yahoo posts positive first quarter earnings, giving strength to its position that the company is worth more than Microsoft is offering. (Source:
  • April 26, 2008: Microsoft deadline passes without comment from either side.

In Part II, Yahoo meets Google, a lone warrior makes a play for the Internet portal, and all sides face an uncertain future.

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