The board, we've heard, is basically being told by outside advisors to take the Microsoft deal. But we've also heard that a contingent of senior executives at Yahoo, who are willing to do literally anything to thwart a Microsoft takeover, are pushing for the Google deal and will present their case at the meeting.
Based on our discussions with insiders and analysts this week, it's fairly clear that the Google deal would, to say the least, not be a good choice for Yahoo in the long run. But Citigroup's Mark Mahaney gives it a 25% chance of happening anyway, based largely on an emotional response from Yahoo to remain independent at all costs.
Wow. Will Yahoo really jump into bed with one adversary to fend off another? It would be a major win for Google, finally putting to bed the annoyance that is Yahoo. Yahoo has been nipping at Google's heels for years now. It would be a solid increase in revenue for Yahoo in the short term, and Google could swell its advertising business. The long-term consequences, however, aren't clear.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has everything to lose at this point. If Yahoo turns it down, I would expect an immediate increase of its initial offer, with other enticements thrown in to appease stockholders. Microsoft needs an effective platform to expand its Internet-based services. Buying Yahoo can help it do that. This acquisition is the only way it can compete with Google. If it misses the opportunity, no clear path lies ahead for Redmond.
If Yahoo goes for it, I would expect Google to fight the deal tooth and nail.