Programming - - By Matthew Magain

Microsoft Offers $42 Billion For Yahoo!

Big news to close the week — that Microsoft has initiated a $42 billion takeover bid for Yahoo!.

In a conference call Friday, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer indicated he won’t take no for an answer after Yahoo rebuffed takeover overtures a year ago. “This is a decision we have — and I have — thought long and hard about,’ Ballmer said. ‘We are confident it’s the right path for Microsoft and Yahoo.”

There’s no guarantee that Yahoo! will accept the offer, or even if they do that the deal will gain approval from anti-trust regulators in the United States and Europe. But given that the offer for $31 per share is a 62 percent premium on the current market value, and that Yahoo!’s share price has been steady declining, I would be very surprised if they didn’t accept.

It would be interesting if it goes ahead to see what the combined forces could achieve. I also wonder whether the diverse portfolio of Yahoo! (I’m thinking Flickr, del.icio.us, Upcoming and the like), much of which are powered by open source technologies, would retain the same branding and strategy under the Microsoft umbrella. Not to mention the difficulties that one would face in merging two very, very different cultures.

Interesting times. Watch out Google!

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