Microsoft exit hits Yahoo shares
Yahoo’s German-listed shares plunged 17% after software giant Microsoft dropped its three-month-old bid to buy the internet firm.
Analysts expect Yahoo’s US shares to fall by a similar margin when Wall Street begins trading later.
The deal collapsed recently because the two sides could not agree on an acceptable sale price.
Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer formally withdrew the offer in a letter this weekend to Yahoo’s head, Jerry Yang.
In Frankfurt, Yahoo’s shares were down 17.56% at 14.93 euros ($23.17) in early trading.
“Mr Yang is certainly under a lot of pressure now,” said Roland Hirschmueller, an equities trader at German brokerage Baader.
“His days are numbered, if he doesn’t manage to come [up] with an alternative strategy,” he added.
Yahoo’s New York shares closed at $28.67 on Friday. They are listed on the technology-dominated Nasdaq index.
The stock had gained around 50% since Microsoft announced the unsolicited bid on 1 February.
Mr Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer, said the firm had raised its original offer from $44.6bn to $47.5bn (Ã‚Â£24.1bn) – $33 per share.
But he added that Yahoo had insisted on at least $53bn, or $37 a share – which was more than Microsoft was prepared to pay.
Analysts said Yahoo could face legal action from shareholders after rejecting the bid.
Microsoft had wanted to do a deal to be able to compete with Google, which dominates the lucrative market for internet advertising.
This market was worth $40bn in 2007 and is predicted to double to $80bn by 2010.
In his letter to Yahoo’s chief executive Mr Yang, which was posted on the Microsoft website, Mr Ballmer said: “We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo and the market as a whole.
“Despite our best efforts, including raising our bid by roughly $5bn, Yahoo has not moved toward accepting our offer.”
“After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interestsof Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal.”
Mr Ballmer also told Yahoo’s boss that he would not pursue his original plan B of launching a hostile takeover battle, because Mr Yang would “take steps that would make Yahoo undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft”.
Mr Ballmer told his own employees that Microsoft could achieve its goals without Yahoo, albeit at a slower pace.
Yahoo maintained that Microsoft had offered too little to buy the company.
In a statement issued after Microsoft’s withdrawal, Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock dismissed the unsolicited bid as a “distraction”.
This article is from the BBC News website. Â© British Broadcasting Corporation
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