Articles of the Day

Yahoo Rejects New Offer From Icahn And Microsoft; Says: Just Buy Us Already For $33 Per Share — An oddly timed announcement indeed… or not, given that the initial deal fell through on a Saturday evening. In a just-released statement, Yahoo says on Friday it received a partial offer from Carl Icahn and Microsoft, that would involve the sale of the search business to Microsoft, while handing over the rest of the company to Carl Icahn. The company claims it was given a less-than 24-hour ultimatum, which would explain the timing of this announcement. What the company clearly wants is a full sale. The sub-headline of the release is even: Yahoo! Suggests Microsoft Make A Proposal To Acquire Whole Company. Of course, Yahoo has said a few times lately that it’s now willing to sell at that $33 price, but that Microsoft won’t revisit that offer. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this announcement is that it’s the first time Carl Icahn has endorsed a plan that doesn’t start with the goal of an outright sale. In fact, as Yahoo points out in the release, Icahn previous trashed the idea of a partial search deal with Microsoft, calling it a poison pill that eliminated Microsoft’s need to buy the whole thing. It seems that Icahn has adjusted to a new reality.

Microsoft’ Latest Offer Detailed; Major Shareholder Legg Mason (Still) Unimpressed — Yahoo’s late-night Saturday rejection of a fresh offer from Microsoft was a bit jarring, since a) nobody knew that there had been a new offer and b) Yahoo was describing it as inadequate without explaining what it entailed. Today Reuters reported that the new offer was basically the same, structurally, as the old one, except a promised revenue guarantee was higher ($2.3 billion per annum) and guaranteed for five years. Kara Swisher offers up a different figure, saying the revenue guarantee was $20 billion over 10 years. Either way, as Yahoo even admitted, it was a better offer than the previous one—but still not get enough. So with Yahoo rejecting the deal, it all comes back to the Aug. 1 shareholder meeting. It doesn’t look like this latest tactic has done much to help Carl Icahn.

Murdoch On Yahoo: Microsoft Will Walk Away, Deal With Us Unlikely — In the background throughout Microsoft’s neverending Yahoo courtship has been the News Corp factor. Yahoo ran to Google to avoid an MS tie-up first time ‘round; could it also seek solace in Rupert Murdoch’s arms? It’s “very unlikely”, Rupe said (via Reuters) at Allen & Co’s Sun Valley shindig. So maybe Ballmer will triumph after all? Nope: ”There won’t be a deal. There’s bad personal feelings. In six months, (Microsoft) will walk away.” He should know; along the way, News Corp has held talks on both options – tying Yahoo to its MySpace, and helping Microsoft buy Yahoo. The CEOs aren’t the only ones with animosity; Murdoch said of Gordon Crawford, SVP of Capital Research which holds 11.4 percent of YHOO and six of MSFT: “He’s pissed he didn’t get $33. He would have taken it in a flash.” It may be an idyllic hillside retreat, but Jerry Yang (via Reuters) says he’s unlikely to kick back with Microsoft representatives in Sun Valley.

GE’s NBCU Q2 Revs Up 7 Percent; Income Up 1 Percent — Another underwhelming quarter for NBCU, unit of GE… network revenue was up 7 percent in Q2, to $3.88 billion from $3.62 billion, while income grew just 1 percent to $909 million $904 million. The company claimed that its cable business offset ongoing weakness at its local operations. It also touted the benefits of the upcoming Olympics, predicting more than $1 billion in advertising. As for the whole company, at least they didn’t miss this time (maybe Jack Welch’s tongue lashing did the trick on Jeff Immelt). Total revenue was up 11 percent to $46.9 billion, though excluding charges, net income was flat at $5.4 billion or $.54 per share. Meanwhile, the company continues to spin and sell off units, including its consumer and appliance divisions… but so far, there’s nothing official on the company shopping around NBCU, despite the constant speculation.

Big Chinese Funding: Online Jobs Site Gets $110 Million Funding — The days of huge Chinese fundings are not over yet, as online video and gaming sites and others in digital media keep getting stupendous amounts: Chinese online jobs site has received a big $110 million round of mezzanine funding. This is the largest ever investment in the online jobs sector in China in recent years. According to the company CEO Hao Liu,, this will be the company’s final round of financing before a planned IPO in 2010.

Veoh Launches Behavioral Targeting Technology — Veoh Networks today unveils a new behavioral targeting system that lets marketers match video and display ads with specific audiences based on their viewing habits. Still in beta, the technology draws on data collected on its users’ video watching, searching, browsing and other activities on to deliver targeted ads according to nine overall audience categories.

M&A Update: Ad Networks, Social Media Win, But Mobile Loses Out In 2008 — Social media companies and ad networks continue to curry favor with investors, according to the latest M&A report from Petsky Prunier. In the first half of 2008, VC firms and strategic investors pumped nearly $1.5 billion into social media companies and almost $760 million into ad networks and exchanges. Investments in the social media and user-generated content (UGC) space, which New York-based Petsky Prunier grouped in the Digital Media sector, nearly tripled from the first half of 2007. The deals ranged from double-digits, like the $35 million investment RockYou snagged from DCM, to the $850 million that AOL paid to snap up Bebo. And despite the oft-publicized struggles by social media leaders like Facebook and News Corp.’s MySpace to monetize their audiences, it’s likely that VC firms in particular will continue to fund development in the sector.

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