Microsoft Presses Yahoo to Take $44 Billion Deal

Microsoft told Yahoo over the weekend that it has three weeks to accept the offer it made to buy the Internet company for more than $44 billion — or it will face a hostile takeover.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

It is Monday morning, when we talk about technology, and today we'll start with the war between Microsoft and Yahoo. Microsoft is still trying to buy Yahoo, and this weekend they put on some more pressure.

The CEO, Steve Balmer, wrote to Yahoo executives warning that if they don't accept his bid soon, he may launch a hostile takeover bid and might end up paying less.

This morning, Yahoo's CEO, Jerry Yang, wrote back. He told Microsoft he's not opposed to the deal, but $42 billion is not enough to buy one of the best known Internet companies right now.

We have more this morning from NPR's Wendy Kaufman. She's reporting from Seattle.

WENDY KAUFMAN: In his letter, Microsoft CEO Balmer called his company's offer generous; it represented a substantial premium over the stock price at the time. Balmer said that offer was designed to create a speedy and ultimately friendly deal. Despite that, he wrote, there has been no meaningful negotiation to conclude an agreement. So Microsoft is ratcheting up the pressure on Yahoo's board, warning if there's no agreement within three weeks, Microsoft will go directly to Yahoo's shareholders in an effort to gain control of that company. And that, said Balmer, would have an undesirable impact on Yahoo's value. In other words, Microsoft would offer less than the $31 a share that's now on the table.

Rob Enderly, a Silicon Valley technology analyst, says Microsoft knows this standoff can't go on forever. It's putting a cloud on both companies. But he adds that the deal and the company's responses seem to him to be upside-down.

Mr. ROB ENDERLY (Technology Analyst): Yahoo should want this deal and Microsoft shouldn't. Microsoft appears to be over-paying. Yahoo seems to be getting substantially more for a property that's declining in value. Yahoo should be jumping over itself to say yes. Microsoft should be trying to walk away. And so we'll see how it goes.

KAUFMAN: Wendy Kaufman, NPR News, Seattle.

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