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Jerry Yang reflects on Microhoo dealAt the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, John Battelle of Federated Media Publishing questions Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang about Microsoft's bid to buy Yahoo for $33 dollars a share earlier in 2008. Yang says the companies weren't far from agreeing on terms of...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >> Interviewer: What happened with the Microsoft deal? Why didn't you take the 33 dollars a share Jerry? >> Jerry Yang: Look, I think everybody has replayed that a lot of -- you know, a lot of people have replayed that in their minds. I'm no exception. I think there is a view that we -- it was there for the taking and I think there's a view that maybe we were trying to do something not to sell the company. >> Interviewer: Well you did adopt a [inaudible]. >> Jerry Yang: No, no that's not what it is. We -- look, I mean the idea of selling to Microsoft was something that we'd known about, we've discussed, we -- to this day I would say that the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo. I don't think that is a bad idea at all. I think that... >> Interviewer: Just at 40 dollars a share not... >> Jerry Yang: Oh no, I think at the right price - whatever the price is - we were willing to sell the company. And I think the circumstances in which we were involved in was one that they walked away from a public offer. And we were ready to negotiate. We wanted to negotiate a deal. We felt that we weren't that far apart. But at the end of the day, they withdrew and they've since been very clear about not wanting to buy the company. Not only myself, but I think our board -- you know, one of the things I think people don't really recognize throughout this is that we have a board. We have a lot of obviously stake holders in all of this. We have shareholders. And we believe we were doing the right things every step of the way. Now, everybody can look back and say "Hey, you could have done this differently. You should have done this differently. You should have taken something." I will tell you there was nothing to take. I would you know -- did we want to do a deal with Microsoft to sell the company? Yes. Had we been able to do that I think we'd have been very happy. But it was not meant to be. Now, people will blame me, blame the company, you could blame Microsoft. I think both sides are to blame for not having done this. >> Interviewer: Now but there is I think a very real sense that it was because of you that the deal didn't happen. You fought it. You didn't want it to happen. You thought the cultures couldn't work together. You didn't want to be purchased by Microsoft. That was an ego issue for you. Was it not? Is that not true? >> Jerry Yang: No, look I mean people who know me will know me that I don't really have an -- I don't have an ego about remaining independent versus not remaining independent. I think that... >> Interviewer: That's a surprising statement to me. >> Jerry Yang: Okay, well it is true because I think for me I think that both as a shareholder but -- as especially a CEO, my job is to figure out how to really find the right path for Yahoo. And so the debate at Yahoo has always been - or at least certainly through the Microsoft process - about trying to understand what our alternatives are. [Inaudible] an acquisition, not because we don't want to do the acquisition but really to understand how we can get an acquisition done on the right terms. And look, we could go back through the timeline. We have our version. The world thinks this -- you know, whether they agree with us or not it's a different story, but at the end of the day we believe that there was a deal to be done. We believe that we were not that far apart. We obviously believe that they walked away because they saw something else that they didn't want to do. They were -- and we went back to them. We [inaudible] very clear, went back to them and said "Look, even at the price that you were suggesting are you guys willing to do the deal?" And they said no. So I don't know what else we could have done. We could have done it earlier. We could have done it sooner. We could have done a bunch of other things, but you look at the process it's very hard to argue that says I didn't want to do something. And that's something I know I will be labeled with that forever, but... >> Interviewer: I worked very hard to try to get Steve Ballmer to like be here right now. I did. >> Jerry Yang: Look, I... >> Interviewer: I couldn't get him on the stage. >> Jerry Yang: Well I mean look, I have -- and that's the thing. It's like I have a lot of respect for Steve. And we've had a lot of good conversations throughout this thing. And I don't -- certainly from my perspective it's not personal. I think it's really about whether we could have found the right thing to do together and... ^M00:04:18 [ Music ]