Right at the very heart of it

Not New York, but Redmond Washington. The movers and shakers are split today between North West London at Google’s Zeitgeist and the (beautiful but damp) Pacific North West at Microsoft’s Advance08. Neither event agenda mentions Yahoo! yet for all the participants this remains the hot topic and this could be the first instance of the same elephant showing up in two rooms eight time zones apart.

The quote of the day so far has been attributed to Google’s Larry Page who has ‘offered Yahoo founder Jerry Yang refuge inside Google if Yahoo investors push him out’. I have never thought of Mr. Yang as the Dalai Lama but it’s a touching idea.

It seems that both the Sunnyvale suitors are now intent on cleaving control of Yahoo’s search advertising business from the corporation in some kind of joint venture which may make practical sense in the short term but is far from ideal for those Yahoo! shareholders who wish to realize the value of their holdings via a sale rather than via a share of earnings over time.

Such a deal makes Yahoo! all but unsaleable to anyone other than the new ‘partner’ and races with only one runner in the field tend to make for poor sport. Already the dance will have scared any potential white knight as the protagonists have, by inference at least, capped the value of all the non-search assets of Yahoo!

A full sale seems to be the correct option to maximize return for shareholders and given the competition implications and the apparent imperative to consolidate search that means Microsoft. Advantage Redmond?



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