This morning, the New York Post ran a story with this headline:
M’SOFT NOT YET ON BOARD
NO NAMES LINED UP YET FOR YAHOO!
The article goes on to suggest that nobody in Silicon Valley wants to be on Microsoft’s alternate board for Yahoo for fear of “alienating both Yahoo! insiders and others who are aligned with the search giant.” This was news to us since we started gathering names of people who might be on that alternate board two weeks ago.
The sad truth is that nobody is afraid of Jerry Yang or any other Yahoo insiders (what’s left of them). While the Post may have uncovered some individuals who may have been considered for the alternate board and declined, that is not the same as evidence “that the software giant actually doesn’t have anyone lined up.” Because, in fact, Microsoft does have an alternate board lined up and the people chosen for it have agreed to serve if called upon to do so. We have confirmed this with a member of the alternate board.
So why hasn’t Microsoft released its proposed slate? It is not because it cannot find anyone to serve on it. More likely, the reason that Microsoft has gone dark is because it is deep in negotiations with Yahoo to close the deal. The expectation for a revised bid of $34 a share or more is well-founded. If a deal is imminent, there is no point in doing something hostile like propose a new slate of directors. The absence of a slate actually means the chances of the deal going through are high. If Microsoft does decide to reveal the slate in the next few days, then you’ll know the negotiations aren’t going well.