マイクロソフト、ヤフー買収提案を撤回 - 他のネット企業との提携に動くか

Microsoft、Yahoo!の買収提案を取り下げ、敵対的買収には動かず。買収金額で両社折り合いつかず。検索市場で首位を独走するGoogleの追撃は、Yahoo!、Microsoftそれぞれ1社単独では困難で、他のネット企業との提携・統合に動くのは必至。


公開日時:2008年05月04日 11:27

米Microsoftは2008年5月3日、米Yahoo!に対する買収提案を撤回すると発表した。MicrosoftとYahoo!は最後の交渉を行い、1株33ドルに引き上げる提案をしたが、37ドルを要求するYahoo!の要求との隔たりは埋まらなかった。最終的に交渉は決裂した。

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmerは、「50億ドルまで買収額引き上げなど最大限の努力を行ったが、Yahoo!が我々の提案を受け入れるには至らなかった。慎重に検討した結果、Yahoo!の要求額はわれわれにとって受け入れられないもので、買収提案を取り下げることが我々の株主、従業員、その他のステークホルダーにとって利益にかなうと判断した」との声明を出した。

Microsoftは2008年2月1日にYahoo!の買収提案を発表した。Steve Ballmerは、Yahoo!を買収することで R&D能力の拡大、新たなユーザエクスペリエンスの提供、規模の経済、オペレーションコストの向上などのシナジーを生み出し、(1)新たな時代の技術革新、(2) 技術資産の補完、(3) 新たなコミュニティやソーシャルプラットフォーム、(4) Webサービスのオープンプラットフォームが実現できるとしていた。

Yahoo! とMicrosoftの交渉は決裂したが、検索市場で過半数以上のシェアを維持するGoogleを追撃するには両社ともに1社単独で行うのは不可能に近い。Nielsen Onlineの2008年3月期の米国検索エンジンシェアはGoogleが58.7%に対し Yahoo!は18.1%、MSN / Live Searchは12%。今後、MySpaceやFacebook、AOLなど他のネット企業との事業提携・統合の動きが出てくる可能性がある。とりわけYahoo!は新しい戦略・Yahoo! Open Strategyを打ち出し、同時にサードパーティーによる自由なカスタマイズを許すSearchMonkeyを公開したが、Microsoftはまだ検索市場で巻き返しをはかるための戦略は打ち出せていない。自社開発の検索技術・Live Searchも登場以後検索シェア拡大に貢献するどころかシェアは低下し続けている。

米Wall Street Journalは関係筋の話として、Yahoo!がGoogleの検索広告枠を拡大する準備を進めているとしている。多くのアナリストはGoogleの検索広告導入によりYahoo!のキャッシュフローが改善すると指摘している。ただしGoogleとYahoo!の提携は米司法当局が独占禁止法違反とみなす公算が大きい。また、Steve Ballmerは書簡の中で、Yahoo!がGoogleの検索広告を使うことはYahoo!広告主やエンジニアの離反を招きYahoo!周辺のエコシステムの破壊を招くと指摘している。

the letter from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang.

May 3, 2008

Mr. Jerry Yang
CEO and Chief Yahoo
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Jerry:
After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo!'s Board of Directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

I am disappointed that Yahoo! has not moved towards accepting our offer. I first called you with our offer on January 31 because I believed that a combination of our two companies would have created real value for our respective shareholders and would have provided consumers, publishers, and advertisers with greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. Our decision to offer a 62 percent premium at that time reflected the strength of these convictions.

In our conversations this week, we conveyed our willingness to raise our offer to $33.00 per share, reflecting again our belief in this collective opportunity. This increase would have added approximately another $5 billion of value to your shareholders, compared to the current value of our initial offer. It also would have reflected a premium of over 70 percent compared to the price at which your stock closed on January 31. Yet it has proven insufficient, as your final position insisted on Microsoft paying yet another $5 billion or more, or at least another $4 per share above our $33.00 offer.

Also, after giving this week's conversations further thought, it is clear to me that it is not sensible for Microsoft to take our offer directly to your shareholders. This approach would necessarily involve a protracted proxy contest and eventually an exchange offer. Our discussions with you have led us to conclude that, in the interim, you would take steps that would make Yahoo! undesirable as an acquisition for Microsoft.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a "hostile" bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

-- First, it 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. This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them. This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.

-- Given this, it would impair Yahoo's ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.

-- In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit. Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace.

-- 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. In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.

-- It could foreclose any chance of a combination with any other search provider that is not already relying on Google's search services.

Accordingly, your apparent plan to pursue such an arrangement in the event of a proxy contest or exchange offer leads me to the firm decision not to pursue such a path. Instead, I hereby formally withdraw Microsoft's proposal to acquire Yahoo!.

We will move forward and will continue to innovate and grow our business at Microsoft with the talented team we have in place and potentially through strategic transactions with other business partners.

I still believe even today that our offer remains the only alternative put forward that provides your stockholders full and fair value for their shares. By failing to reach an agreement with us, you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.

But clearly a deal is not to be.

Thank you again for the time we have spent together discussing this.

Sincerely yours,
/s/ Steven A. Ballmer

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Yahoo! - Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc.
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/may08/05-03letter.mspx?rss_fdn=Press%20Releases

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マイクロソフトがヤフー買収に動くという話は過去にも何回かあったものの全て話は立ち消え。今回は公式にヤフー買収に動くという意志を示したことから「今回は成立するのでは」という憶測もあったが結局(やはり?)買収不成立。ただ本文でも書いた通りマイクロソフトが単独でグーグルに立ち向かうのは不可能。AOL、Facebook、MySpaceあたりの企業と手を組むなどしないとGoogleに突き放され続けるのは必至。あるいは今後成長が見込まれる有力な検索技術を持つベンチャー企業を買収するか。





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