REDMOND, Wash. - Microsoft Corp. has pounced on slumping Internet icon Yahoo Inc. with an unsolicited takeover offer of $44.6 billion in its boldest bid yet to challenge Google Inc.’s dominance of the lucrative online search and advertising markets.
The surprise offer of $31 per share, made late Thursday and announced Friday, comes with Sunnyvale-based Yahoo in a vulnerable position.
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In a statement Friday, Yahoo said it will “carefully and promptly” study Microsoft’s bid.
With its profits steadily sliding, Yahoo’s stock slipped to a four-year low earlier this week and a new management team has been trying to steer a turnaround but sees more turbulence through 2008.
The announcement sent Yahoo’s share price up sharply, while Google saw its shares fall, weighted down by a fourth-quarter earnings report, released Thursday, that missed Wall Street expectations.
In a letter to Yahoo’s board of directors, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer indicated the world’s largest software maker is determined to bring the two companies together.