background: earlier today, microsoft made an unsolicited offer to acquire yahoo. this comes after yahoo stock has been battered by transitional turmoil, economy and competitive stress. this reminds me of the imagery from the movie “the hills have eyes“. when you are in a funk, everyone wants in at you.
- a strong international brand
- 500 million users
- top notch properties in sports, news, finance, jobs, groups, answers, flickr.. on and on
- #2 panama search advertising platform
- #1 display advertising platform
- superb engineering talent
- on and on.
i think yahoo can strongly benefit from being shielded from investor scrutiny plus microsoft’s distribution/sales/marketing muscle. as an employee of yahoo, i’d be curious about the fit with ebay, but wouldn’t mind being part of microsoft or google. though silicon valley culture doesn’t gel with ultra hard-nose microsoft culture, i think i have tons of respect for what microsoft has done for this industry., and what they have done in a very short period of time with live. and i’d be seriously considering other career options if this results in the end of yahoo brand or culture or anything remotely close to it. msft don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg. if you do end up investing or acquiring, go ahead but and stay the hell out.
other suiters are probably not far behind, including:
- private equity: those hawks aren’t far behind. this is absolutely the worst case scenario.
- ebay: this is a great fit, culture-wise. i don’t consider ebay a stronger brand than yahoo. this is a merger scenario, not an acquisition scenario. plus, it doesn’t offer tons of sales upside nor product synergies, nor customer synergies.
- google: they’ll should it a shot. at the minimum they’ll heckle the hell out of microsoft and/or make them pay a higher premium. digging deeper, google probably relies on the ‘head’ and ‘torso’ properties to drive their long-tail content monetization engine, and yahoo is the center of content that hold internet content universe together. this deal poses a significant risk to the key supplier of content to google. i think this the ideal case scenario. if FTC isn’t dumb it will let this happen.
ultimately, i do hope that we continue to execute on our strategy. which is great, and it will take time to play out. until then i do hope the exec team does deal with pesky baldmer and his ego. it will help them grow to be a better exec team