When I spoke on Sunday to Legg Mason’s Bill Miller (Yahoo’s second-biggest shareholder, with 6 per cent or so of the stock,) he wouldn’t be drawn on whether he personally would have taken the $33 a share on offer if Microsoft had taken its bid direct to shareholders. But he did say this:
“Something in the $34 or $35 range would have satisfied most shareholders.”
Yahoo’s board held out for $37, while Yang himself apparently told Steve Ballmer on Saturday that he and co-founder David Filo would be happier with $38.
Miller chose to blame the Microsoft side for letting the deal get away rather than paying the extra $5bn to come up to Yang’s price. But if he is right about how little extra it would have taken to get a deal done, that is as much an indictment of Yang’s negotiating stance as it is of Microsoft’s unwillingness to pay the extra buck. It only makes the failure of these negotiations seem even more bizarre.