Microsoft threatens Yahoo with hostile takeover

Microsoft set the clock ticking for Yahoo to accept its US$41 billion (€26.1 billion) buy-out offer in a letter to the Internet pioneer's board. In it, Microsoft threatened that if a deal wasn't agreed by April 26, the software maker would launch a hostile takeover at a less attractive price, an Associated Press report said.

The report quoted Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer saying, 'If we have not concluded an agreement within the next three weeks, we will be compelled to take our case directly to your shareholders, including the initiation of a proxy contest to elect an alternative slate of directors for the Yahoo board.' He added, 'If we are forced to take an offer directly to your shareholders, that action will have an undesirable impact on the value of your company from our perspective which will be reflected in the terms of our proposal.'.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment, the Associated Press report said.

In the letter, Ballmer said Yahoo's search share and page views, two measures of the strength of the web portal company's business, appear to have fallen since the offer was made at the end of January.

At the time, Microsoft's cash-and-stock offer was valued at US$44.6 billion (€28.4 billion), or 62% above Yahoo's market value. Judging by Friday's closing share prices, the deal is now worth just under US$41 billion (€26 billion).

Yahoo's board formally rejected Microsoft's bid in February, saying it undervalues the company.