It seems Yahoo is trying everything they can to keep themselves from being acquired by Microsoft, or at least put pressure on Microsoft to up to the bounty so to say. In the past few weeks, AOL/Time Warner, Google and NewsCorp have entered into the picture. Here is a brief over-view of what is happening with each company. More detailed information can be found here via Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog.
Yahoo: Trying to avoid or sweeten Microsoft’s original offer. Testing an advertising partnership with Google. Reportedly getting close to a deal with Time Warner’s AOL unit to combine their Internet operations, as an alternative to Microsoft’s bid. Also reportedly looking to buy back significant amounts of its own stock.
Microsoft: Hoping to get Yahoo to accept original offer or enter formal negotiations. Reportedly talking to News Corp. about it joining the bid for Yahoo. As the dust settles today, Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo is still the only publicly disclosed offer on the table.
News Corp.: Originally considered a possible partner in Yahoo’s efforts to thwart Microsoft. Has effectively switched sides by now talking with Microsoft. Its MySpace social networking site would stand to be a key part of any deal it reaches.
Google: Working with Yahoo on the advertising test, but not reported to be involved in any other talks. Its large share of the Internet search and advertising markets could complicate any deal it tries to make, because of antitrust considerations.
Time Warner: According to the Wall Street Journal, it was closing in on a deal with Yahoo as of yesterday. From the Journal story: “Under the terms being discussed between Yahoo and Time Warner, the latter would fold its AOL unit into Yahoo and make a cash investment in return for about 20% of the combined entity, people familiar with the situation said. The deal, which wouldn’t include AOL’s dial-up access business, would value AOL at about $10 billion.”
I would have to say Google would be the least likely route being that it would be a major anti-trust nightmare. News Corp has ‘stabbed’ Yahoo in the back by partnering with Microsoft. Yahoo! and MySpace would be an interesting but good mix. However if Time Warner/AOL were successful it would be one of those, “There goes the neighborhood!” This will be interesting to watch over the next few days or weeks or months or…