Today’s MicroHoo Roundup: Google Considers Its Response, Google Says It Would “Hire” Yang, Icahn Might Be Thwarted By Slimmed-Down MicroHoo, & MSN Reorgs
Yesterday at Google HQ in Mountain View, during the Q&A session following the discussion of Google Health, a reporter sneaked in a question about Microsoft-Yahoo. Marissa Mayer declined to answer the question, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Brin and Page were mulling their collective response to the new and reduced Microsoft overture (pun […]
Yesterday at Google HQ in Mountain View, during the Q&A session following the discussion of Google Health, a reporter sneaked in a question about Microsoft-Yahoo. Marissa Mayer declined to answer the question, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Brin and Page were mulling their collective response to the new and reduced Microsoft overture (pun intended) to Yahoo. What that response will be is to be determined.
Google had been working on finalizing an anti-trust-proof paid search deal with Yahoo and may court Yahoo further in light of the new moves by Microsoft. One area of speculation is that a successful bid to buy Yahoo’s search business might freeze out Google and give Microsoft the search reach the former was trying to prevent.
At a London press conference, Google’s Eric Schmidt said he expects Microsoft to be the company’s most formidable competitor. During that same press conference Schmidt said that the search company would love to “hire” Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang to work there should that ever be an opportunity: “Jerry is very talented and if he wants to work at Google we’d be very excited to have him, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Right now Jerry Yang has got his hands full fending off a proxy fight from investor Carl Icahn, who might be somewhat vexed by the new negotiations between Microsoft and Yahoo (although he’s already made $120 million on Yahoo apparently). Icahn is presumably interested in a total sale, not a partial deal as the new discussions suggest. All might come to naught for Icahn and his alternative slate of directors if a deal is struck between Microsoft and Yahoo before the annual Yahoo shareholder meeting on July 3. As PaidContent reports, Icahn began his massive purchase of Yahoo shares the day the first Microsoft deal died, suggesting a pre-meditated game plan.
Yahoo is now caught between Icahn, the corporate gadfly, Microsoft’s new offer, and Google. According to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, that offer would involve selling Yahoo’s Asian assets, Microsoft controlling the Yahoo paid search inventory, and the company taking a minority stake in the remaining Yahoo. What should the company do? Take the money and run, argues a Wall Street Journal column, citing AOL’s decline in value, by analogy, over the past several years. However, it’s not clear right now precisely what money is on the table.
For its part, Microsoft, which has been prone to reorgs over the past several years, has done a minor one at MSN. It has promoted (read the internal memo) Erik Jorgenson, who ran the Virtual Earth, Maps, and Local/Mobile teams, to a corporate VP role that will see him leading the MSN organization as well as the group he formerly ran. There were several role changes under Jorgensen as well.
If Microsoft successfully buys a piece of Yahoo, there will likely be some additional shifting in Redmond in the future. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures.