Gorillas Playing in the Jungle

Posted by Dawn Kawamoto on news.com     Microsoft on Saturday issued an ultimatum to Yahoo, giving the Internet search pioneer three weeks to enter formal merger negotiations and conclude a deal.      The software giant threatened to launch a proxy fight to unseat Yahoo’s board of directors, as well as take its case straight to Yahoo investors should no deal be reached in that period.      And as a further cattle prod in getting a deal consummated, Microsoft threatened to lower its existing bid, citing how Yahoo’s value will be hurt if it needs to resort to such hostile means.      “If we have not concluded an agreement within the next three weeks, we will be compelled to take our case directly to your shareholders, including the initiation of a proxy contest to elect an alternative slate of directors for the Yahoo board,” Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive, stated in his letter to Yahoo’s board of directors. “The substantial premium reflected in our initial proposal anticipated a friendly transaction with you. If we are forced to take an offer directly to your shareholders, that action will have an undesirable impact on the value of your company from our perspective which will be reflected in the terms of our proposal.”      Microsoft initially offered an unsolicited buyout bid of $31 per share for Yahoo back on February 1.

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