Forgive me if I feel like I’m coming down with a case of whiplash. First, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says he might walk away from his company’s unsolicited bid to buy Yahoo, then Microsoft hints it’s going to go hostile (soon!), then today, the company leaks that talks with Yahoo are intensifying—and I hear from a source close to the matter that indeed they have, both in recent days and especially today. And this is all in the last 24 hours!
From what I gather, talks have been going on constantly, but it’s not at all surprising that they’re heating up, as I said yesterday. On the other hand, it also wouldn’t be at all surprising if they broke down once again, because these are real talks, a deal hasn’t been reached yet, and probably won’t today.
Three months of rhetoric aside, the main hangup all this time has been how far up from $31 a share (now a little over $29 a share thanks to Microsoft’s sinking stock price) Microsoft will go, and how far down from $40 a share Yahoo will go. In recent days, it has seemed they were closing in. Today, the New York Times’ Dealbook and the Journal noted that Microsoft might be upping its bid by “several” dollars, which would be quite a move given Ballmer’s recent trash-talk. So for all this ping-pong, I’m still betting on the deal getting done in the mid-30s.
And while I originally said “Eventually,” I now get the distinct feeling it could come soon, maybe even by Monday.