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Microsoft issues final threat to scotch Yahoo deal

Microsoft Corp gives Yahoo Inc no hope of a higher takeover price, saying it is ready to even call off its bid if Yahoo maintains "unrealistic expectations" of a better deal.

business Updated: Apr 25, 2008 20:54 IST

Microsoft Corp gave Yahoo Inc no hope of a higher takeover price, saying it was ready to go hostile or even call off its bid if Yahoo maintains "unrealistic expectations" of a better deal.

"Speed is of the essence for the deal to make sense," Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said on a conference call on Thursday. If no deal is reached by this weekend, Microsoft will reconsider its offer and reveal new plans next week, he said.

"Unfortunately, the transaction has been anything but speedy and has been characterized by what would appear to be unrealistic expectations of value," he said of Yahoo's moves to frustrate Microsoft's unsolicited merger proposition.

Microsoft sees Yahoo as a way to compete with arch-rival Google Inc in the Internet search and advertising arena, but company executives have repeatedly said they have limits to what they are willing to pay to get a deal done.

"We have yet to see tangible evidence that our bid substantially undervalues the company," Liddell said, referring to Yahoo. "In fact, we see the opposite."

Liddell reiterated a threat Microsoft made three weeks ago to Yahoo's board of directors that it would consider cutting its bid, now worth about $44 billion, and take its case to Yahoo shareholders if a deal is not reached by this Saturday.

"As outlined in our recent letter to the Yahoo board, unless we made progress with Yahoo towards an agreement by this weekend, we will reconsider our alternatives," Liddell said.

"These alternatives clearly include taking an offer to Yahoo shareholders or to withdraw our proposal and focus on other opportunities," either from internally generated growth or growth through acquisitions, the Microsoft executive said.