Yahoo's board of directors has issued a statement saying it will evaluate Microsoft's unsolicited bid to acquire Yahoo for $44.6 billion. Not surprisingly, the board will be doing so without the input of former CEO and chairman Terry Semel, who stepped down as chairman last night. He was replaced as CEO by founder Jerry Yang back in June, and has been busy staffing up his old Windsor Media venture, though it remains to be seen what form that former investment firm will take. Roy Bostock, who has sat on Yahoo's board since May 2003, was elected to serve as non-executive chairman.
Semel's departure may bode well for a potential Microsoft deal, since he's been vocal in his disdain for such a merger. It also won't hurt that Yahoo's been shedding executives for the past year, so at least some of the potential redundancies are already dealt with.
On a conference call this morning to discuss the acquisition, Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division, suggested that Microsoft's offer would be the only one Yahoo could get, given anti-trust concerns that would prevent Google from making an offer. he played on the underdog theme, saying, "The fact is the industry will be better served by having a more credible alternative" in search and advertising.
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