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Yahoo Buying Time, Board May Be Looking To Deal

With billionaire investor Carl Icahn's consortium of investors looking to take over Yahoo's board at its upcoming shareholder meeting, Yahoo has bought itself more time by pushing back the meeting from July 3 to "around the end of July."

Yahoo announced the new date yesterday in an SEC filing, saying that, in light of the Icahn proxy fight, it needs more time to file and distribute new "preliminary proxy materials."

There appears to be no doubt that Yahoo is feeling the pressure from Icahn's campaign: According to Boom Town blogger Kara Swisher, Yahoo's Chairman Roy Bostock -- while publicly defending the company against Icahn's plan -- is privately reassuring several major investors that Yahoo's CEO Jerry Yang not be left without "supervision" in any future negotiations.

According to Swisher's sources, Yang and fellow Yahoo Cofounder David Filo were caught off-guard when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer walked away from the first negotiation round.

"While Yahoo's Yang and Filo left the meeting thinking it went well and more price-kibitzing would go on," she reported, "Ballmer used it as an excuse to end the circus."

A source told her that Yang is realizing he may have made a mistake in his handling of the talks: "Jerry is beloved at the company and he knows now that that's at risk if he lets this spin out of control any more, so I think he's wised up to the situation."

In fact, the Wall Street Journal is reporting today that both Yahoo and Microsoft are circling back around to the idea of a full acquisition, but "Microsoft isn't convinced [Yang and Filo] are willing to accept anything less than $37 a share," writes reporter Matthew Kartinsching, citing anonymous sources.

According to Kartinsching's report, the current negotiations are still officially focused only on Microsoft acquiring Yahoo's search business.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com, RedDevNews.com and VisualStudioMagazine.com, among others.

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