Microsoft Corp. offered $40 a share for Yahoo! Inc. in January 2007 only to have its bid rebuffed, according to court papers unsealed in a lawsuit over the failed buyout.
Lawyers for Yahoo investors said executives ``gave the back of their hand'' to Microsoft's efforts to negotiate a friendly buyout, according to papers unsealed yesterday in Delaware Chancery Court. Some Yahoo shareholders seek to hold Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang and other directors liable for failing to accept the offer. Yahoo's shares closed yesterday at $26.40.
``Whoever's suing the Yahoo management and board of directors, if they had a $40 offer and didn't take it, they're going to want to cut their throats for being that stupid,'' BP Capital LLC Chairman T. Boone Pickens, a Yahoo shareholder, told Bloomberg television in an interview yesterday. ``Anybody who sued them has got a good lawsuit, I'd say. I'd hate to be on that board of directors right now.''
Microsoft, the world's largest software company, dropped a $33 a share bid for Yahoo, owner of the second-most-popular computer search engine, on May 3 because the two couldn't agree on a price. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer was willing to pay $40 a share last year to help the Redmond, Washington-based company compete with top search site Google Inc., according to the complaint.
Yang used his power as CEO ``to delay, to refuse to negotiate in good faith and to erect roadblocks'' to Microsoft's bid, investors said in an amended complaint.