As expected, the Yahoo board of directors has rejected Microsoft’s unsolicited bid to acquire the company. In a statement, the board said that the proposal is not in the best interests of Yahoo or its stockholders:
After careful evaluation, the Board believes that Microsoft’s proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo! including our global brand, large worldwide audience, significant recent investments in advertising platforms and future growth prospects, free cash flow and earnings potential, as well as our substantial unconsolidated investments. The Board of Directors is continually evaluating all of its strategic options in the context of the rapidly evolving industry environment and we remain committed to pursuing initiatives that maximize value for all stockholders.
The board did not mention whether any of the “strategic options” it’s exploring include Google or AOL, both of which are rumored to have been in talks with Yahoo to discuss some form of partnership or merger. In a Google-partnership scenario, Yahoo might outsource some or all of its search and search advertising operations to Google. AOL doesn’t have its own search index, but licenses Google’s, so an AOL tie-up would likely see Yahoo keep its search and search ad operations.
AOL has been investing heavily in advertising technology, adding Tacoda (behavioral targeting), AdTech (ad serving, big in Europe), Lightningcast (video ads), Quigo (contextual ads) and Third Screen Media (mobile ads) to its newly formed Platform A business, built around the base of its Advertising.com ad network.