Washington: Microsoft said on 1 February it had offered to buy struggling Internet firm Yahoo for $44.6 billion ($30 euros) in cash and stock. Microsoft said it had proposed $31 per share to Yahoo’s board of directors, “representing a total equity value of approximately 44.6 billion dollars,” the statement said. The offer represents a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo stock on 31 January, it said. It said Yahoo shareholders could elect to receive cash or a fixed number of shares of Microsoft stock, with its total offer consisting of one-half cash and one-half stock.
“We have great respect for Yahoo, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market,” said Microsoft’s chief executive officer Steve Ballmer.
“We believe our combination will deliver superior value to our respective shareholders and better choice and innovation to our customers and industry partners,” Balmer said.
The announcement came before markets opened in the United States, a day after Yahoo chief executive Terry Semel left the Internet firm’s board of directors on 31 January.
Semel’s departure came just two days after Yahoo revealed plans to lay off 1,000 employees as part of an effort to revitalize a company that analysts say strayed from its profitable strengths while Semel was at the helm. Yahoo has been hit by sluggish revenue growth despite launching a new online advertising platform a year ago and having hundreds of millions of users worldwide.
Yahoo reported that its profits dipped to $206 million in the final three months of 2007 but still topped expectations by Wall Street analysts. Yahoo reported its revenues for 2007 climbed 8% to $1.8 billion compared with revenues in the prior year.