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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 2, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Biz press flummoxed, reporting on its own reporting, as MSFT-YHOO dance marathon continues

Update, 12:06 p.m.: Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times has a source confirming that merger talks between Microsoft and Yahoo are ongoing.

Update, 1:56 p.m.: Yahoo’s stock price rose even more, closing at $28.67, up $1.86, or nearly 7 percent. Microsoft was down 16 cents, closing at $29.24.

“Ah, what to say about Yahoo and Microsoft?” David Faber, CNBC anchor and co-producer said on his segment this morning, summing up what many in the business press are feeling about now. “I feel like I need to say something about Yahoo and Microsoft given how much I’ve already said about Yahoo and Microsoft, so here goes.”

There are two prevailing theories, which is pretty much status quo for the week: We’ll get some news on the acquisition proposal today. Or we won’t. “We’ve all reported on them doing nothing. And it feels like they’ve done a lot,” Faber said.

The today theory comes from The Wall Street Journal’s report this morning. “Microsoft Corp. late Thursday was leaning toward going hostile in its pursuit of Yahoo Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, with an announcement likely Friday.” A Microsoft spokesman told me this morning he had no news at the moment.

Faber’s theory is that we won’t get a hostile bid announcement on a Friday. He hears that Microsoft’s advisers believe they can squeeze out a bid of $33 and Yahoo’s big investors are willing to go as low as $35. With a bid-ask spread that narrow, the quiet out of Yahoo this week, and the absence, thus far, of a hostile play by Microsoft, he’s not looking for any announcements today. Henry Blodget sees ongoing, fruitful negotiations in the silence.

(And yes, it is still silence even though Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke to employees at a town hall meeting Thursday and was quoted in The Journal this morning. He provided no new information in either forum, and really no insight into his thinking.)

Bolstering the not today/fruitful negotiations theory is Yahoo’s stock, up about a buck, or 3.8 percent, to $27.83 in early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. Meanwhile, the major indexes are in the red.

So the truth is, nobody knows. And Faber filled that vacuum on his 2 minute, 50 second segment this morning with footage Ballmer doing his infamous Monkey Boy dance.

“You could imagine him sitting down after something like this and saying, ‘OK, I feel better now I can think clearly.’ But that’s the kind of guy you’re dealing with as we head towards this weekend,” Faber said. “… Trying to figure what Steve Ballmer is thinking is not easy.”

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