SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Jerry Yang has gotten what he wanted: a chance to prove his company is worth more than the $47.5 billion that Microsoft Corp. offered to buy the Internet pioneer.
A Yahoo sign is seen in Times Square in New York. Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Jerry Yang has gotten what he wanted: a chance to prove his company is worth more than the $47.5 billion that Microsoft Corp. offered to buy the Internet pioneer. [Agencies]
It will be a daunting challenge, as Yang will be pointedly reminded Monday when investors are expected to show how little they think of Yahoo without a takeover bid on the table. Faced with resistance from Yang and the rest of Yahoo's board, Microsoft withdrew its offer over the weekend.
Many analysts believe Yahoo's stock price, which had climbed nearly 50 percent since Microsoft's initial offer, will surrender most, if not all, of that gain, leaving the Sunnyvale-based company's market value around $30 billion.
Disillusioned shareholders are bound to question whether the rejection of Microsoft's sweetened $33-per-share offer was driven more by emotion and ego than sound business sense.
"Clearly there's frustration," said Darren Chervitz, co-manager of the Jacob Internet Fund, which owns Yahoo stock. "I am not even sure if Yahoo cares about its shareholders because they didn't show much regard for shareholders' best interests in this process."
Despite such negative sentiment, Yahoo shares are unlikely to immediately fall back to their $19.18 pre-bid price, partly because some investors may still be holding out hope that the software maker will renew its takeover attempt if Yahoo continues to struggle.
Yahoo shares finished last week at $28.67, slightly below the $29.40 per share that Microsoft was offering before Chief Executive Steve Ballmer agreed to raise the offer to $33 per share in a last-ditch effort to get a deal done.
Accompanied by fellow Yahoo co-founder David Filo, Yang flew to Seattle Saturday to inform Ballmer that the company wouldn't sell for less than $37 per share — a price that Yahoo's stock hasn't reached since January 2006.
Analysts and investors were left to wonder why the two sides couldn't compromise at $35 per share.
"They really didn't seem that far apart," Chervitz said. "There is probably blame to go around on both sides, but I think most of it is in Yang's hands."
Monday's anticipated shareholder backlash will put Yang on the hot seat as he tries to execute on a turnaround plan that he began drawing up nearly a year ago after he replaced Terry Semel as CEO amid shareholder angst about the company's financial malaise.
"This squarely puts the pressure on Jerry Yang to deliver results and shareholder value," Standard & Poor's equity analyst Scott Kessler said. "You are going to see a lot of shareholders just throwing in the towel because they are going to realize it's going to take awhile for the stock to get back to where it was Friday."