Sunnyvale (CA) - Yahoo’s board of directors plans to reject Microsoft’s acquisition offer, according to the Wall Street Journal. The board believes that the current offer "massively undervalues" the company.
Quoting sources "familiar with the situation", the WSJ said that board would not be accepting an offer below $40 per share, which would bring the purchase price closer to $57 billion, and would require Microsoft to account for certain risks, if regulators do not approve the deal. Yahoo’s stock closed Friday trading at $29.20.
If accurate, the board apparently is generally willing to agree to the sale of the company. The two companies are likely to be heading into a gambling phase to find out if they can agree on a price. It is unclear at this time whether Microsoft is willing to increase its offer to the level of Yahoo’s expectations.
When Microsoft announced its intention to take over Yahoo, CEO Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft had been in "on and off" acquisition talks with Yahoo for about 18 months. He said that he "thought long and hard about" purchasing Yahoo and believes in a Yahoo that is integrated into Microsoft "more than ever." He considered the $44.6 billion as an offer that Yahoo should "seriously think about".
Your guess is as good as ours on whether Microsoft will increase its offer to $57 billion, but it is clear that there are very few companies out there that can help Microsoft decrease the distance between itself and Google in online search and advertising. Yahoo obviously has leverage in these negotiations.