report has surfaced that Microsoft is in talks to acquire Yahoo!. Not only is a different number being reported - $20 billion - but there is a new twist: Microsoft only wants Yahoo's online search business.Yet another
Given Steve Ballmer only last month said of a deal with Yahoo!: "There are probably still opportunities around search. I think it would still make sense economically for their shareholders and ours," could there be an element of truth to today's report?
The deal, according to the Times Online, would see Microsoft injecting a new management team into Yahoo! with Jonathan Miller, the former chief executive of AOL and Ross Levinsohn, the former president of Fox Interactive Media at the helm.
The report also claims that Microsoft would provide a $5 billion facility for the team and Miller and Levinsohn would raise an additional $5 billion from external investors, giving the Miller and Levinsohn team a holding in excess of 30% of Yahoo! shares. External investors would then have the right to appoint three of Yahoo's eleven board directors.
And what does Microsoft want in return? According to the Times, Microsoft would get a ten year agreement to manage the search business, with a two year option to buy the Yahoo! search business outright for $20 billion.
With all the questions surrounding Jerry Yang's recent announcement that he is stepping down from the position of chief executive, and Yahoo's share price coming in just over a ridiculously low $9 a few weeks ago, this new report makes us yet more eager to know what will be next at Yahoo!
Update: Kara Swisher says: "Total Fiction": There Is No $20 Billion Microsoft Deal To Buy Yahoo Search