Exit stage left for Microsoft's Yahoo bid?

A weak first quarter performance by Yahoo may not only pressure it to consider the buyout bid from Microsoft, but may provide Redmond with fodder to lower its bid.

Watching the Microsoft-Yahoo show? Here are two figures to watch in the coming weeks:

$1.32 billion and 11 cents.

Yahoo is projected to generate $1.32 billion in revenue and earn 11 cents a share for the first quarter, according to analysts' estimates collected by Thomson Financial.

Anything less than that when the company reports its first-quarter results on April 22 could apply greater pressure on Yahoo to accept Microsoft's unsolicited buyout bid that was initially valued at $31 a share. This especially holds true if no other white knights emerge to make a deal with Yahoo.

One interesting theory posted on Henry Blodget's Silicon Alley Insider suggests that Microsoft may want to cool its heels until Yahoo reports its first-quarter results. If Yahoo's quarter falls below Wall Street's projections, Microsoft could withdraw its bid, let Yahoo's share price fall back to the teens, wait a bit, then return with a lower bid of $25 a share.

But then again, why wait?

Yahoo could totally blow the quarter, but its share price may not tank because investors still know Microsoft has its bid on the table.

Microsoft could withdraw its bid at any point, before or after Yahoo's quarterly announcement, and potentially watch Yahoo's stock fall back to its pre-buyout bid levels.

If Microsoft withdraws its bid before Yahoo's quarterly results, it will have a sense of the cause-and-effect of its buyout bid and then another reference point of any investor dissatisfaction if Yahoo misses Wall Street's projections and the stock falls further.

That's called a one-two punch.

 

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