SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang said Wednesday that Microsoft should buy his pioneering Internet firm despite failed takeover talks between the companies earlier this year.
“To this day, I would say the best thing for Microsoft is to buy Yahoo,” Yang said during an on-stage chat with journalist John Battelle at a Web 2.0 summit on Internet Age companies and their business strategies.
“Did we want to do the deal? Yes.”
Microsoft has said repeatedly that it is no longer interested in buying the floundering Northern California firm.
“Our position hasn’t changed,” Microsoft said in a statement released in October. “Microsoft has no interest in acquiring Yahoo. There are no discussions between the companies.”
The Redmond, Washington-based company issued the statement after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer commented that the business reasons for a Yahoo acquisition still make sense.
Microsoft on January 31 offered to buy Yahoo for 44.6 billion dollars in a half-cash, half-stock deal.
Microsoft walked away from negotiations May 3 after Yahoo rejected an offer it raised from 31 dollars to 33 dollars per share, which amounted to 47.5 billion dollars.
“We believed we were doing the right thing every step of the way,” Yang said. “Both sides are to blame.”
Yahoo stock was priced at 13.90 per share in after-hours trading Wednesday.
Microsoft wanted to buy Yahoo to better battle Google, which claims the lion’s share of the multibillion-dollar Internet search and advertising market.
After ending talks with Microsoft, Yahoo announced an alliance with Google to put the Internet search king’s expertise to work pumping money from its floundering rival’s online advertising.
Google said Wednesday it is ending its bid for a joint search advertising partnership with Yahoo to avert “a protracted legal battle” with regulators.
The US Justice Department vowed to file a lawsuit to block the alliance on the grounds it would stifle competition in Internet search advertising by controlling up to 90 percent of the market.
“The government, in this case, does not understand our industry,” Yang said.
The proposed Yahoo-Google ad alliance would have benefitted Internet users and advertisers, Yang maintained.
Yang declined to discuss unconfirmed reports that Yahoo is in tie-up talks with faded Internet portal America Online.
“I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you,” Yang told the on-stage interviewer when asked if Yahoo is going to buy AOL.