Backdoor approach to a Microsoft-Yahoo deal?

Annual shareholder meetings of Berkshire Hathaway and Morgan Stanley may present prime opportunities for Microsoft and Yahoo top dogs to get it together.

Tech Culture

Microsoft has tried the front-door approach in wooing Yahoo. But, pssst, the backdoor is unlocked.

The software maker, in its pursuit of Yahoo, has tried knocking on the Internet search pioneer's front door, then banging with its unsolicited bid, and now it's two weeks away from using a battering ram, should the deadline remain fast and firm to name an opposition slate to Yahoo's board.

But the backdoor has plenty of potential.

Yahoo's nonexecutive board chairman, Roy Bostock, and Microsoft director Charles Noski both serve on the board of investment bank Morgan Stanley. With Morgan Stanley's annual shareholder meeting coming up next month in New York, it seems to be as good a time as any for Bostock and Noski to be passing notes. (Just keep them away from the watchful eye of Morgan Stanley's chief executive, John Mack, whose firm is representing Microsoft in its Yahoo bid.)

And in America's heartland, Microsoft's Bill Gates and Yahoo President Sue Decker could break bread, or rather, dine on a juicy steak, while attending the shareholder meeting at Nebraska-based insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway, at which both serve as board directors.

There's plenty of time for Bill and Sue to hang out. The shareholder meeting, scheduled for the first weekend in May (PDF), is a multiday affair that gives investors the option of also sipping on cocktails at fine-jewelry store Borsheims, a Berkshire Hathaway holding, and dining at Gorat's Steakhouse.

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And who knows, maybe Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway's chief executive and a close friend of Gates, may make the perfect go-between for the two companies. After all, Buffet's advice is closely followed by the financial press, investors of high net worth, and institutional investors.

Meanwhile, in Hannover, Germany, on Monday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a pitch for the existing offer.

"The deal makes sense, with the price and structure we announced. We hope it becomes reality," he told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

CNET's Ina Fried contributed to this report.
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