Let's face it: In all likelihood, Microsoft (MSFT) will end up acquiring Yahoo! (YHOO) for a few billion dollars north of the $44.6 billion the software giant offered in an unsolicited bid on Feb. 1. But it's not a done deal yet. And Yahoo co-founder and Chief Executive Jerry Yang made it very clear in a memo to employees that he's serious about looking at alternatives. "Microsoft's proposal is one of many options that we're evaluating," he wrote shortly after the bid was announced.
Those options clearly won't be as palatable to shareholders as Microsoft's bird in the hand. Some might even provoke lawsuits. But Yahoo's reticence has raised the tantalizing possibility that it might make one of several bold moves to stay independent—or at least extract a little more money from its suitor: