Posted July 17, 2008 5:11 pm by with 2 comments

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I think I’ve made a terrible mistake. Somehow, by using every cliché in the book, I think I just guaranteed that I’ll always have get to be the one covering Microsoft/Yahoo/Google deal news. Well, today we’ll go with mixed sport metaphors. Mixing metaphors is even more fun than just using them!

Okay, so let’s hit one out of the park, shall we? There’s a new letter to Yahoo shareholders today—from Yahoo itself. It’s quite long, and since I’ve been working on synopses today, I’ll go ahead and boil this one down give you just the box score on this one, too. But just because I like you.

Dearest Stockholders,
Carl Icahn and Microsoft are spitballin’ you. Meanwhile, we’re still out running suicides for you: trying to lead in search and display advertising, gearing up out Google deal, tapping into our Asian assets, and staying open for a deal that will provide real benefits.

Let’s go through Icahn’s plays:

  • He just likes to change lineups.
  • He’s traveling—he’ll be selling off his stock ASAP.
  • His backfield is in motion—he has ulterior motives, but no real plan for Yahoo if there is no deal.
  • His lineup isn’t familiar with our game plan, or our company. Icahn has even said that “It’s hard to understand these technology companies.”
  • He thinks he has our playbook and Microsoft’s, but he doesn’t.
  • He doesn’t know which uniform to wear—first he encouraged us to reject Microsoft’s search-only deal and accept the Google deal, now he says we should go for the search-only deal.

Look, this just isn’t the guy you want calling the shots around here. He’s not even a good teammate for Microsoft—other than the fact that neither of them can settle on a single game plan:

But Microsoft’s flip flops and inconsistencies over the past five months are so stupefying that one can only conclude that Microsoft was never fully committed to acquiring Yahoo! either because:

* Microsoft can’t decide what is and isn’t strategically important to its online business;


* Microsoft is more interested in destabilizing a key competitor so that it can either enhance its competitive position or buy our highly valuable search business–and the enormously desirable intellectual property associated with it–at a bargain basement price.

Look, we all know Microsoft’s in the clinch, even more than we are. They’re not exactly in the position to take us to the big dance.

Meanwhile, we, your board (the underdogs!), continue to play a good, clean game:

[W]e will sell the entire Company to Microsoft for $33 per share or more if Microsoft will negotiate a transaction that delivers certainty of value and certainty of closing. This is the simplest, most straightforward way to maximize value for you. Second, we remain open to selling only search to Microsoft as long as it provides real value to our stockholders and resolves the substantial execution and operational risks associated with the separation of our search and display businesses.

Third, your Board takes seriously its obligation to examine all value-creating steps it could take and continues to actively examine many of these now, including a potential spin-off of our Asia assets and a return of cash to stockholders.

When it comes down to the wire, vote for us. We’re the ones who will be loyal to our fans shareholders and make sure you get your money’s worth.

For the love of the game,
Roy & Jerry

To me, the most astounding parts of the letter are the offer to sell for $33/share and calling Microsoft’s actions “stupefying” (though they do have a point, I could definitely see Microsoft saying the same thing). What do you think?

  • The pot calling the kettle black? Why is the $33 a share offer suddenly acceptable now?

  • Good job!!