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Ballmer Says Microsoft Wants Yahoo Deal

microsoftMicrosoft Steve Ballmer CEO Steve Ballmer said at a media conference in New York today that he still think there is an opportunity to make a deal with Yahoo, likely to acquire Yahoo’s search engine business that remains a significant business for Yahoo.

Ballmer expects to discuss possible deals with new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.

Microsoft first offered Yahoo $47 billion (about $30 per share) in an unsolicited bid that later broke down with then CEO Jerry Yang after failed talks. Jerry Yang was later heavily criticized for not taking the deal and later resigned. The Yahoo stock is now trading at $13.75 (1:23pm) and is up about 2.53%

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Jerry Yang Steps Down as Yahoo CEO

Yahoo is announcing that the co-founder and CEO, Jerry Yang, has stepped down as company CEO to his previous postion and a Chief Yahoo Board Member. Jerry has been heavily critisized for not accepting the Microsoft takeover offer of about $33 per share as the Yahoo stock is currently hovering at about $10 per share and its not expected that the stock will reach $30 again any time soon. Jerry said “from founding this company to guiding its growth into a trusted global brand that is indispensible to millions of people, I have always sought to do what is best for our franchise,” he went on to say “when the Board asked me to become CEO and lead the transformation of the Company, I did so because it was important to re-envision the business for a different era to drive more effective growth.” A replacement has yet to be announced.

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Yang says Yahoo For Sale, Will Microsoft/AOL Buy?

Jerry Yang spoke in front of more than 1,000 people at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Fransisco where he provided his commentary about the last year and also expressed he and the Yahoo board of directors never at any point had any regrets concerning the failed acquisition with Microsoft. Yang also says that he went back to Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) to re-interest MS though to no avail. Yang has confirmed Yahoo is not in any direct acquisition talks with Microsoft and he notably refused to comment about a possible acquisition with AOL. We can expect Microsoft’s interest to re-open assuming serious talks develop with AOL. Most importantly, Yang went on to say “to this day, I’d say the best thing for Microsoft to do is buy Yahoo,” and he added: “We’re willing to sell the company.” Very interesting. Yang has been very heavily criticized (probably rightfully so) for not accepting the Microsoft acquisition bid for about $33 per share, considering Yahoo stock is now trading at about $12 and it isn’t expect to recover to $33 anytime soon. In more recent news, Yang also expressed disappointment towards Google who recently dropped the Yahoo ad partnership after antitrust concerns from the US Justice Department and strong critisism from various corporate opponents including Microsoft. Complete information from the Web 2.0 Summit can be found here.

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