Yang accuses Microsoft of trying to destabilize Yahoo
Embattled Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang accused Microsoft head Steve Ballmer of trying to destabilize the internet company Wednesday, as a sharp war of words intensified ahead of Yahoo's decisive proxy shareholder vote on August 1, the dpa reported.
Yang's comments in an interview with The Wall Street Journal came two days after Microsoft revealed that it would restart acquisition negotiations if rebel Yahoo shareholder Carl Icahn was successful in his bid to oust the board and management at Yahoo's annual meeting.
"I think that the destabilizing by Microsoft has become more and more intentional. I am not happy about it," said Yang, who repeated his accusation that Microsoft had no real desire to complete a deal.
Microsoft broke off talks in early May after Yahoo rejected the software giant's 47.5-billion-dollar buyout bid, which had valued the company at 33 dollars a share.
Yahoo's shares subsequently fell to around 20 dollars but jumped almost 12 per cent after Microsoft said it might revive its offer if Icahn won the proxy battle. The billionaire Icahn, a legendary corporate raider accused, Yang and the Yahoo board of sabotaging the Microsoft negotiations.
"To trust Mr Icahn and his board is really a bad choice," Yang told the journal, calling on Microsoft to restart talks with the current management.
A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on Yang's comments and reiterated Monday's statement, which read: "We have concluded that we cannot reach an agreement with them. We confirm, however, that after the shareholder election, Microsoft would be interested in discussing with a new board a major transaction with Yahoo."
Yahoo responded with a statement that Microsoft and Icahn were trying to force Yahoo to sell its search business at a price "that would not be in the best interests" of shareholders.
"If Microsoft and Mr Ballmer really want to purchase Yahoo, we again invite them to make a proposal immediately," said Yahoo in the statement. "And if Mr Icahn has an actual plan for Yahoo beyond hoping that Microsoft might actually consummate a deal which they have repeatedly walked away from, we would be very interested in hearing it."