Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is on the horns of dilemma about what to do about Yahoo since Yahoo ignored his Saturday deadline to deal or be acquired by force at a lower price.
And a meeting of Microsoft’s board to debate the issue Wednesday apparently didn’t find a way around his problem.
His problem is money. He simply doesn’t want to pay what Yahoo wants.
He told a town hall meeting with Microsoft staffers today, where he promised a decision “in short order” but not today, that “We’re interested in paying for it at some level and beyond that level we’re not willing to pay for it. I know exactly what I think Yahoo is worth and I won’t go a dime above.”
He said Microsoft had three options: “There’s the friendly deal, there’s an unfriendly deal, third path is simply to walk away. Given [Yahoo’s] just a part of a strategy – if neither of those looks good, we walk away. It makes sense at the price we proposed and I think it’s a good deal for Yahoo shareholders. It’s a huge premium. It’s one of the largest valuations.”
“If Yahoo doesn’t happen,” he said, “there’s a number of other things we’ll look at.”
But he still thinks he’s in the game because he also said, “We missed the deadline but we’re in the process.”
Microsoft’s official leak site, the Wall Street Journal, reported Wednesday when the Microsoft board was meeting that it heard Microsoft was willing to go to $32 or $33 a share, up from $31 (or around $29 and change thanks to the post-Yahoo stock hit), but that Yahoo’s major shareholders, which Microsoft has been courting, wanted $35-$37 and Yahoo’s board wanted somewhere in the “upper 30s,” down from its previous $40.
The paper said that Microsoft is shy about launching its threatened hostile takeover and could walk away – which, let’s face it, might be the most sensible thing to do. It could probably pick Yahoo up for less later on, or so the thinking goes.