Microsoft on Saturday withdrew its bid to acquire Yahoo, opting against raising its offer $5 billion more or pursuing a hostile takeover.
Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer, in a letter to Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, said he was concerned that Yahoo would take actions that would make the company undesirable to Microsoft. Of particular concern: Yahoo’s decision to test Google’s search ads on its own results pages, and the possibility that Yahoo would work more closely with Google on paid search going forward.
Such an arrangement, Ballmer wrote, “would fundamentally undermine Yahoo!’s own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system.”
He continued: “This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo,” Ballmer said.
Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock fired back a statement, reiterating that Microsoft’s bid undervalued Yahoo. “We remain focused on maximizing shareholder value and pursuing strategic opportunities that position Yahoo! for success and leadership in its markets,” Bostock said in a news release.
On Feb. 1, Microsoft offered to pay $44.6 billion or $31 a share for Yahoo. Since then, Microsoft said it agreed to raise its bid by $2 per share, but Yahoo wanted another $4.