back to article Microhoo! what's! going! on?

Microsoft is laying aside $1.5bn to keep Yahoo! staff happy and at their desks should the takeover go through. The cash was revealed in court documents from last month. The figure comes from a transcript of a hearing held on 24 March (available here). But lawyers noted that the figure for staff retention could also include the …


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  1. John Dooley

    Its the Open Source Stupid

    Its all about shutting down a rather large and highly visible and infectious Open Source shop.

    A year after this goes down, there will be no more Yahoo Open Source resources free and available to all, it will be history.

    Rule number 231 of robber barron kapitalism, if you can't beat something in the market place, buy it and shut it down.

  2. John Macintyre

    business is business

    I don't get it. I work in banking too so I really should get it. Stop me if I go wrong:

    M$ says to Yahoo! 'here's a wad, we own you'.

    Yahoo! say no.

    M$ says 'here's a larger wad. we have to own you. if you say no we'll sue you into owning you'

    Yahoo! sticks two fingers up and says no

    M$ takes Yahoo! to court to force it to accept.

    surely the whole point of these things is that both sides agree? if one doesn't agree then that's it. have yahoo already accepted or signed something? I must have missed half of this debacle but surely it's like me saying to someone 'heres a wad for your car (more than the car value)', they say no they like the car, you sue them to force them to sell it to you. WTF?

    I'll go back to my crunch

  3. Fuion

    Microhoo! -->

    <HOORAY beer!>

  4. Spleen


    I haven't been paying much attention because takeover battles (as opposed to actual takeovers) are really, really boring. But I believe the point is that Yahoo is a public company and its shares are held by lots of people, and if Microsoft can't get Yahoo's board to recommend the offer, then it'll just get the outside investors to sell it their shares anyway until it has enough to replace the board or force the sale of the rest of the shares or something.

  5. Jamie


    Its just like living in the 80s' again when they purchased up companies and the early 90s' to stop competition.

  6. Jason


    Spleen is pretty much right here. The example you give would relate to a company that's privately owned. In privately owned, if you had a business worth a million, and someone offered 10 million for it, you could still tell them to shove off and keep it for yourself.

    In a publicly traded business, the board is responsible for realizing the highest value per share (providing the highest return) for investors. If Microsoft wants to buy a company at a premium, and the board refuses to sell, they're not doing their job (unless they believe they can make more elsewhere). Microsoft then has the option of going to the shareholders (the true owners) and asking them to replace the board with people that will support the sale. If the owners (shareholders) want to sell, the board gets replace and the sale proceeds.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I'm looking forward to...

    Microsoft withdrawing their bid, and the share price of Yahoo collapsing again. Seeing the greedy current board who, for some unknown reason, don't think this is a good offer, lose the artificial money they have on the table because of the takeover bid will make me laugh.

    Regardless of what you think this is a good offer for the shareholders of Yahoo. Interestingly for John above the board of any publicly owned company have a legal responsibility to maximise profit for the shareholders. In this case they are claiming that they can get more money by rejecting Microsoft, which is blatantly not true. As such, the pension fund shareholders who are taking them to court are actually in the right.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Slow news day?

    "Some blogs are predicting an announcement could come later today."

    Some blogs are probably also predicting the end of the world next Friday lunchtime -- doesn't mean it's newsworthy.

  9. Pierre

    What does substantial mean?

    "Microsoft has gone out of its way to reassure Yahoo! staff that a takeover would not mean substantial job cuts."

    Given that they don't consider 122,000 errors to be a significant number, Yahoo employees should be afraid...

  10. Rob Dobs
    Gates Horns

    Yahoo has every right to reject, and probably should too!


    I disagree the Boards job is to set and abide by the companies mission statement, which states the goals and objectives of the company, this is what investors are buying into, not necessaryily this quarters profits, but a piece of Captial assests, a piece of a company for life. This ALMOST always includes making a return on investment, but not always. Non-profits have boards and their profit is not their main concern of business. The NAACP does not for example oust its board for not maximizing revenues - there is a service to the community that is supposed to superceed that. Even for profit companies have other missions and goals that drawl investors to put their money behind the companies efforts. I know a lot of Microsoft haters will drop Yahoo's web services like a lead zeppelin if they are bought, and many investors would either sell or not buy their stock or product based on this as well. I count myself as one such person.

    Further any board can justify their actions in court as forward looking, the very act of building a brand, even though it may be a long money losing venture - can ultimately result in a profitable company. If the board thinks they can make more money for their investors than M$ can offer then M$ really has no business saying otherwise, unless they like looking like a spoiled rich kid who just can't buy being cool. Yahoo thinks they are the best people to run these assests, the fact that they are doing so well M$ wants to force a purchase sounds to me like a solid financial vote of confidence in the current Yahoo board. People who purchased this stock thought the same as well, if they thought M$ was so great well then gee they could have gone and bought M$ stock instead, but they didn't.

    Ditto with AC, please don't start using upcoming blogs as a potential bit of news - unitl the blog is out, and its information confirmed - its not news.

    I'm thinking of ending cancer tomorrow, but thats not news until I actually DO IT.

  11. E

    MS Portal

    This could be what I've been waiting for though not the vehicle I ever expected.

    MS buys Yahoo. MS focuses on content portal. MS becomes purveyor of 'news' stories about media personalities, their babies, their divorces, their cellulite and their drug addictions. MS joins the National Enquirer at the forefront of jurinalism. MS becomes mainstay of supermarket tabloid shelves. MS fades away into irrelevance.

  12. Piers


    we! approve! the! return! of! the! Yahoo!! exclamation! marks!.

  13. Michael

    @ Rob Dobs

    You can disagree all you like, but the SEC (securities and exchanges commission) disagrees with you. Guess who wins?

    Non-profit organizations typically aren't publicly traded companies - who would invest in a company that by design doesn't turn a profit? Also, having a board of directors isn't the pertinent issue here. The pertinent issue is that Yahoo! is a publicly traded company, owned by its shareholders. Microsoft has every right to contact the shareholders and offer to buy their shares from them. If they offer enough per share, then enough people will sell to Microsoft, giving MS a controlling interest in the company. Yahoo! itself, really has no say in the matter. That's why they call it a "hostile takeover".

    The problem is that Yahoo!'s claim that they can make more money for their shareholders without selling to MS is just wrong. The only reason Yahoo! shares are trading as high as they are is because of the potential for MS to buy those shares at a premium. The second MS says "fine, forget it", watch the share value drop like the Hindenburg, then MS can make the same offer, which is an even better premium on the (newly reduced) share price, making it even more attractive for shareholders to sell. The reality is simple. Yahoo blows. They have a crap business model, and no real "product" to offer. It's only a matter of time.

  14. Charles Manning


    For 10k staff. That's $150k each, though I doubt it will be evenlly spread.

    Still, that shows that MS are expecting to have to compensate for a lot of bad karma.

    Of course this assumes the blogger/reporter has it right.

  15. John
    Jobs Horns

    What! was! that! about! a! hand!-grenade!....!!!

    Shuttleworth was right!, IMHO!. M$ is in a bad situation. Yahoo! is a shite!! search engine and offers a mediocre email service. Micros~1 is buying them to become No. 2, as no-one is using MSN live, as it's even!!

    Yahoo! is BSD, which is going to put a MAJOR!!! spanner! in the works of any suitor foolish enough to run windows in any mission!-critical! sort! of! way!! ....hang on...

    If they buy Yahoo! they will have too many staff devoted to getting windblows preforming half as well as BSD to bring out Windblows 7 anytime this decade. Looks like it's Fista, or more likely Linux or macOSX for us then.

    If they don't buy Yahoo! (I personally hope they fail....I like competition) then people will write them off as pussys. I would love to see Steve Jobs tell Steve Balmer that he was a pussy. Chairs will fly, youtube has a field day......

    Either way, Microshaft peaked at XP.......never to return......

  16. Tim Bates
    Thumb Down

    Re: Rob Dobs comment

    I agree there... Many current Yahoo service users will leave simply because of the MS factor. Others will slowly drift off as MS kills the services.

    And then there's the services that are completely out of line with MS practices and ways of business. Flickr for example. What will they do there?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    The real reason - a new OS

    I have thought about this for a long time - MS is not buying Yahoo! to kill the open source work. They need a new OS - Vista has proven this. They are buying the OS work so that they can create a truly new OS - just like Apple did 7 years ago. They get in addition some help in other areas but it is the OS that they need and want.

  18. Solomon Grundy

    @ Tim Bates

    Who actually stops doing business with a company because of it's owners? A few hardcore's certainly but hardcore's generally have little to no impact on a company's financial status. One would argue that those are the customers you don't want because they are whiners and eat up customer service time.

    Microsoft makes money. Yahoo! doesn't do so well at that. If the acquisition happened and MS killed off a bunch of services it's probably because they are pointless and generate no profit.

  19. Rob Dobs
    Jobs Horns

    Need more Competition!!! (Gotta have more cowbell)

    @ Michael

    Yahoo stock looks like it is at the same place as 6 months ago (before any M$ rumors I believe)

    Sure there is a nice spike there on the news of buyout, but you are missing the bigger picture that not everyone invests in a company for todays value. I would argue that the majority, or certainly the most important investors in a company are those that buy and hold for the long term value for retirement. Yahoo at $26 today could be worth $2600 (and then adjusted for inflation of course) by 2020. A little lofty I suppose, but look at googles stock and see what expectations can get you in real dollars. Yahoo is one of 3 major internet protals (search, email, news etc) you don't think that this has long term value???

    Also M$ is not considering hostile takeover, its a hostile bid, they are trying to force out the board, to replace them with one that will sell. Investors are daft to do this, that like letting a person replace your minister so you can get more money for selling the church - only a good deal if you don't care about the value of the church.

    In a hostile takeover, they start forcing buys at $33, then people hold out, price goes up and M$ ends up paying more than $40 anywyas. Not to mention I am pretty sure the 80's showed that hostile take overs are completly unprofitable (unless they yeild a market monopoly)....

    @ Grundy

    People wont not buy windows XP because of bill gates, but people like myself will close down a yahoo account and open a google one just because they don't trust M$ as a corporation to own their data.

    And Yahoo seems pretty good and making a profit, they are just also smart enough to invest proceeds into development.

    If they sucked, then M$ would not be offering $40 Bil for the company people...

    I am very personally against the merger because I don't like the way google thinks all my personal data belongs to them for the purpose of advertising? And where am I to take my accounts if M$ buys yahoo?

    Good Grief, all these companies out there, the whole .com boom, and we are going to be stuck with M$ or Google as our choice of portals for news and Email.... I remember 10 years ago when I had more than 20 options.

    Reccomendations anyone? I think I still have a myrealbox account..:)

  20. Bright Ideas


    Microhoo has been an unlucky name for these two giant companies.

    YAHMIC! is the newest name full of goodluck that will surely make this merger work.

    YAHMIC! YAHOO and Microsoft.


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