Microsoft byr 44,6 milliarder dollar for internettgiganten Yahoo. Det tilsvarer 241,4 milliarder norske kroner med dagens dollarkurs.
Steve Ballmer og Microsoft skal ha forsøkt seg på å overta Yahoo i februar i fjor, men ble da avvist, ifølge Bloomberg TV.
Yahoo har imidlertid slitt med å henge med på utviklingen til konkurrenten Google, og på tross av at gründeren Jerry Yang tok tilbake kommandoen, har ikke selskapet kommet på offensiven igjen, ihvertfall ikke nok til at aksjemarkedet har sagt seg fornøyd.
Microsoft klarer heller ikke helt å få taket på den raske vekstkometen Google. Selv om søkemotorselskapet fra Mountain View, i Silicon Valley i California, først og fremst opererer på nettet, er de også en stor trussel mot Microsofts dominerende posisjon i IT-markedet. Google leverer nettbaserte tjenester som etterhvert vil kunne konkurrere med Microsofts kjerneprodukter.
- Vi har store forventninger til Yahoo, og sammen kan vi tilby et spennende sett med løsninger for forbrukere, innholdsprodusenter og annonsører, samtidig som vi blir bedre posisjonert i det nettbaserte tjenestemarkedet, sier Steve Ballmer, Microsofts toppsjef, i en pressemelding.
Microsoft og Yahoo har siden slutten av 2006 hatt et samarbeide, men det er ikke lengre godt nok for den Seattle-baserte programvaregigantent.
- Selv om et kommersielt partnerskap kan ha vært fornuftig tidligere, tror Microsoft at det eneste alternativet nå er kombinasjonen av Microsoft og Yahoo som vi nå foreslår, sier Ballmer.
Kjøpesummen er 31 dollar per aksje, noe som er 62 prosent høyere enn gårdagens aksjekurs. Microsoft tilbyr seg å betale kjøpet i kontanter, men lar aksjonærene velge om de heller vil ha betaling i Microsoft-aksjer.
Amerikanske IT-aksjer har svingt kraftig den første måneden i år, og børsene preges av stor usikkerhet. Microsoft er imidlertid fortsatt en solid pengemaskin, og med en såpass stor budpremie er det gode muligheter for at Yahoo-aksjonærene takker ja til oppkjøpstilbudet denne gangen.
Her er brevet som Microsoft sendte til Yahoo's styre i forbindelse med budet:
January 31, 2008
Board of Directors
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Attention: Roy Bostock, Chairman
Attention: Jerry Yang, Chief Executive Officer
Dear Members of the Board:
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of Microsoft to make a
proposal for a business combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!. Under our
proposal, Microsoft would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Yahoo!
common stock for per share consideration of $31 based on Microsoft's
closing share price on January 31, 2008, payable in the form of $31 in cash
or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock. Microsoft would provide
each Yahoo! shareholder with the ability to choose whether to receive the
consideration in cash or Microsoft common stock, subject to pro-ration so
that in the aggregate one-half of the Yahoo! common shares will be
exchanged for shares of Microsoft common stock and one-half of the Yahoo!
common shares will be converted into the right to receive cash. Our
proposal is not subject to any financing condition.
Our proposal represents a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo!
common stock of $19.18 on January 31, 2008. The implied premium for the
operating assets of the company clearly is considerably greater when
adjusted for the minority, non-controlled assets and cash. By whatever
financial measure you use - EBITDA, free cash flow, operating cash flow,
net income, or analyst target prices - this proposal represents a
compelling value realization event for your shareholders.
We believe that Microsoft common stock represents a very attractive
investment opportunity for Yahoo!'s shareholders. Microsoft has generated
revenue growth of 15%, earnings growth of 26%, and a return on equity of
35% on average for the last three years. Microsoft's share price has
generated shareholder returns of 8% during the last one year period and 28%
during the last three year period, significantly outperforming the S&P 500.
It is our view that Microsoft has significant potential upside given the
continued solid growth in our core businesses, the recent launch of Windows
Vista, and other strategic initiatives.
Microsoft's consistent belief has been that the combination of
Microsoft and Yahoo! clearly represents the best way to deliver maximum
value to our respective shareholders, as well as create a more efficient
and competitive company that would provide greater value and service to our
customers. In late 2006 and early 2007, we jointly explored a broad range
of ways in which our two companies might work together. These discussions
were based on a vision that the online businesses of Microsoft and Yahoo!
should be aligned in some way to create a more effective competitor in the
online marketplace. We discussed a number of alternatives ranging from
commercial partnerships to a merger proposal, which you rejected. While a
commercial partnership may have made sense at one time, Microsoft believes
that the only alternative now is the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!
that we are proposing.
In February 2007, I received a letter from your Chairman indicating the
view of the Yahoo! Board that "now is not the right time from the
perspective of our shareholders to enter into discussions regarding an
acquisition transaction." According to that letter, the principal reason
for this view was the Yahoo! Board's confidence in the "potential upside"
if management successfully executed on a reformulated strategy based on
certain operational initiatives, such as Project Panama, and a significant
organizational realignment. A year has gone by, and the competitive
situation has not improved.
While online advertising growth continues, there are significant
benefits of scale in advertising platform economics, in capital costs for
search index build-out, and in research and development, making this a time
of industry consolidation and convergence. Today, the market is
increasingly dominated by one player who is consolidating its dominance
through acquisition. Together, Microsoft and Yahoo! can offer a credible
alternative for consumers, advertisers, and publishers. Synergies of this
combination fall into four areas:
-- Scale economics: This combination enables synergies related to scale
economics of the advertising platform where today there is only one
competitor at scale. This includes synergies across both search and
non-search related advertising that will strengthen the value
proposition to both advertisers and publishers. Additionally, the
combination allows us to consolidate capital spending.
-- Expanded R&D capacity: The combined talent of our engineering
resources can be focused on R&D priorities such as a single search
index and single advertising platform. Together we can unleash new
levels of innovation, delivering enhanced user experiences,
breakthroughs in search, and new advertising platform capabilities.
Many of these breakthroughs are a function of an engineering scale that
today neither of our companies has on its own.
-- Operational efficiencies: Eliminating redundant infrastructure and
duplicative operating costs will improve the financial performance of
the combined entity.
-- Emerging user experiences: Our combined ability to focus engineering
resources that drive innovation in emerging scenarios such as video,
mobile services, online commerce, social media, and social platforms is
We would value the opportunity to further discuss with you how to
optimize the integration of our respective businesses to create a leading
global technology company with exceptional display and search advertising
capabilities. You should also be aware that we intend to offer significant
retention packages to your engineers, key leaders and employees across all
We have dedicated considerable time and resources to an analysis of a
potential transaction and are confident that the combination will receive
all necessary regulatory approvals. We look forward to discussing this with
you, and both our internal legal team and outside counsel are available to
meet with your counsel at their earliest convenience.
Our proposal is subject to the negotiation of a definitive merger
agreement and our having the opportunity to conduct certain limited and
confirmatory due diligence. In addition, because a portion of the aggregate
merger consideration would consist of Microsoft common stock, we would
provide Yahoo! the opportunity to conduct appropriate limited due diligence
with respect to Microsoft. We are prepared to deliver a draft merger
agreement to you and begin discussions immediately.
In light of the significance of this proposal to your shareholders and
ours, as well as the potential for selective disclosures, our intention is
to publicly release the text of this letter tomorrow morning.
Due to the importance of these discussions and the value represented by
our proposal, we expect the Yahoo! Board to engage in a full review of our
proposal. My leadership team and I would be happy to make ourselves
available to meet with you and your Board at your earliest convenience.
Depending on the nature of your response, Microsoft reserves the right to
pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are
provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our
We believe this proposal represents a unique opportunity to create
significant value for Yahoo!'s shareholders and employees, and the combined
company will be better positioned to provide an enhanced value proposition
to users and advertisers. We hope that you and your Board share our
enthusiasm, and we look forward to a prompt and favorable reply.
/s/ Steven A. Ballmer
Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer