Icahn Sweet Talks Microsoft Back to the Yahoo Table

Picture 15.pngWe’re running out of relationship metaphors to describe the on-again, off-again business dealings between Yahoo, Microsoft and more recently, Carl Icahn. As it stands the trio appears to be somewhere between Three’s Company and Melrose Place.

Over the week-end reports surfaced that Icahn, who is currently waging a proxy battle against Yahoo’s board, had convinced Microsoft to publicly renew its interest in Yahoo’s search business as long as Yahoo replaces its board. The question now, according to the New York Post, is whether Icahn can convince the Yahoo board to trust him to make the deal happen and sell the company at a premium, something Yahoo head Jerry Yang was unable or unwilling to do. This renewed interest on the party of Microsoft is apparently the result of a number of conversations Icahn had last week with Microsoft head Steven Ballmer and may signal Microsoft’s “acknowledgment that it badly needs Yahoo to compete with Google in Web advertising.” For their part Yahoo seemed less confident in Microsoft’s committment saying

If Microsoft and Mr. Ballmer really want to purchase Yahoo, we again invite them to make a proposal immediately…And if Mr. Icahn has an actual plan for Yahoo beyond hoping that Microsoft might actually consummate a deal which they have repeatedly walked away from, we would be very interested in hearing it.
Yep! As with all great love stories, it ain’t over until the consumation is confirmed. Stay tuned.