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SAP a long shot as stand-in for Yahoo

Microsoft investors, don't hold your breath waiting for the company to take up with SAP and dump its hot pursuit of Yahoo, says SAP insider.

Correction at 10:07 a.m. PST on February 27: An earlier version of this report cited a source's claim that SAP added a change-of-control policy, aka a golden parachute for executives. An SAP representative said there is no such policy.

Microsoft investors, don't hold your breath that Redmond is about to dump its pursuit of hottie Yahoo and change its flirtatious stance with SAP into something more serious.

Sure, Microsoft and SAP have discussed a potential merger executive to executive for a number of years, but it's never risen beyond that level to be fully vetted by SAP's supervisory board, which would ultimately need to give its blessing for such a deal to get done, said one SAP insider.

"There's been small talk and we have walked around and flirted a bit, but it's never been a serious look," said the source.

And now, with various reports coming out that Microsoft should dump the Yahoo buyout bid, in favor of another deal, such as an SAP merger as one report noted in The New York Times, this source noted that Microsoft lost its chance to acquire SAP at a deep discount several years ago when it was cheap, cheap, cheap.

"Hasso (Plattner, co-founder) and the board have said if Microsoft wanted to buy us, they should have made an offer three or four years ago when we were so cheap," noted the source.

Indeed. SAP's stock currently trades around $28 a share, compared with roughly a third of that level back in 2003.

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A spokesman for SAP noted the enterprise applications software giant does not comment on market rumors or speculation.

Meanwhile, given the odds are in favor of Microsoft maintaining its focus on Yahoo, SAP is busy adding more bulk to its business via its Business Objects megamerger and ramping up its mid-market on-demand Business ByDesign service, the source noted.

But should the day come when SAP is ready to sell, lining up support from company co-founders Plattner, Dietmar Hopp, and Klaus Tschira--who held a combined stake of 28.4 percent as of August 2007 -- would be a good place to start.

"If the price is right, they would sell," the source speculated. "Dietmar and Klaus are no longer on the supervisory board and Hasso is the chair. If Hasso agrees to sell, the other two would sell. He is the most important piece of the dominoes. If he falls, the whole lot will fall."

Hear that, IBM?