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Ballmer comments juice Yahoo shares

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says a Yahoo acquisition still makes sense for shareholders of both companies--sending Yahoo shares rocketing upward.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
2 min read

Update 10:05 a.m. PDT: Adds Yahoo director Carl Icahn's comments from a CNBC report on Wednesday and more information..

Update 10:42 a.m. PDT: Adds Microsoft statement downplaying Ballmer's remarks.

Here we go again...

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is still paying attention to Yahoo and noted in a keynote presentation Thursday at the Gartner ITXpo in Orlando, Fla., that it would still make sense for the software giant to acquire the Internet search pioneer, at the right price.

Said Ballmer:

We offered $33 bucks (for Yahoo) and it's $11 today. It's clear Yahoo didn't want to sell. They probably still think it's worth more than $33 a share.

I still think it makes sense for their shareholders and ours.

Shares of Yahoo, which have been trading near its five-year low and dipped into the $11 a share range Wednesday, shot up 13.8 percent in intraday trading Thursday to about $13.35 a share.

In a statement, Microsoft tried to downplay Ballmer's remarks.

"Our position hasn't changed," Microsoft said in the statement. "Microsoft has no interest in acquiring Yahoo!; there are no discussions between the companies."

Yahoo shares soared Thursday immediately after Steve Ballmer's remarks. FinancialContent.com

But there's at least one person outside Redmond who believes a Yahoo-Microsoft deal makes sense.

Yahoo director Carl Icahn--a former shareholder activist who waged a proxy fight against Yahoo to push the two companies closer together--expressed a similar sentiment Wednesday during an appearance on CNBC.

In the televised discussion, Icahn said:

I will say and I continue to say that sooner or later there's got to be a deal with Microsoft and Yahoo of some type. I really believe that very strongly.

Before reaching a settlement in his proxy fight with Yahoo, Icahn teamed up with Microsoft to make a joint offer for the software giant to acquire just Yahoo's search business. Yahoo rejected that offer.

When Microsoft initially made its offer to buy only Yahoo's search business, the Redmond giant offered a deal valued around $9 billion. Yahoo's stock on Wednesday was in the $11 range, giving the company a market capitalization of $16.3 billion.