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Murdoch Out; Yahoo Continues Fighting Microsoft

Yahoo just lost another option in its battle to stave off Microsoft's hostile takeover bid.

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said this week that he's not going to compete with Microsoft for Yahoo. "We're not going to get into a fight with Microsoft, which has a lot more money than us," Reuters reported Murdoch saying at an investment conference Monday.

In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo was in talks with News Corp. for a deal that would give News Corp. as much as 20 percent ownership over Yahoo while still leaving the company independent.

Yahoo's board formally rejected Microsoft's initial $44.6 billion bid last month, saying that it undervalued the company significantly, to which Microsoft almost immediately replied that it would continue to pursue the acquisition without offering more.

Last week, Yahoo temporarily side-stepped one of Microsoft's moves to push this tactic forward: After reports surfaced that Microsoft would try to replace Yahoo's board members this month with ones more likely to approve the takeover, Yahoo decided to delay its annual meeting indefinitely and extend the nominating period for new board members through March 24.

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang commented on the move in an e-mail sent to employees, a copy of which was filed with the Security Exchange Commission last week. "Microsoft, of course, could still choose to name directors, but our objective here is to enable our board to continue to explore all of its strategic alternatives for maximizing value for stockholders without the distraction of a proxy contest," he wrote. "It will also make it easier for you to continue to focus intently on delivering on our business strategies and creating value."

He continued, "We believe we are making progress clarifying the many options available to us. And, of course, throughout this process, management and the board are both speaking with -- and listening carefully to -- our stockholders. This ongoing dialogue has provided us with helpful feedback."

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on PureAI.com, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.

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