Report: Microsoft board meets over Yahoo bid

Microsoft’s board is meeting on Wednesday to decide how to proceed in the company’s bid to acquire Yahoo, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Quoting anonymous sources, The Journal reported that the meeting could yield a concrete announcement.

Microsoft’s next move is something that all parties with a stake in the deal have been waiting for since Yahoo failed to agree to a deal by Saturday, the deadline Microsoft had set three weeks earlier.

Many observers had expected a reaction from Microsoft first thing Monday morning, but as the silence stretched into Wednesday afternoon, the media speculation mill has gone into overdrive.

The major stumbling block in the negotiations has been the price, which Microsoft is willing to increase to up to US$33 per share, but not to the $35 to $37 range that major Yahoo shareholders, management and board members want, The Journal reported. Microsoft’s original cash-and-stock offer, made on Feb. 1 and valued at $44.6 billion at the time, stood at $29.12 as of Tuesday’s market close, the paper said.

This week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been personally lobbying big Yahoo shareholders so they, in turn, will pressure the board to accept Microsoft’s bid, since Microsoft would prefer not to have to launch a hostile takeover, The Journal reported.

In the meantime, Yahoo and Time Warner have continued exploring the possibility of Yahoo merging with AOL in exchange for a 20 percent stake in Yahoo for Time Warner, The Journal reported.

In addition to attempting a hostile takeover, Microsoft has other options, such as raising its bid to a level agreeable to Yahoo’s board or walking away, a possibility first floated by Ballmer last week.

Certainly, Microsoft expected the acquisition process, now nearing its third month, to flow much more smoothly and quickly, given the company’s urgency to boost its Internet unit so it can better compete against Google and capitalize on the growth of the online advertising market.

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