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Possible next steps for MicrohooCNET News.com's Kara Tsuboi and Microsoft beat reporter Ina Fried sit down to discuss where Microsoft's bid for Yahoo stands. Ina breaks down the options and likens the strategy on both sides to a slow-moving game of chicken. Find out why she's not straying...
^M00:00:00 [ Music ] >> Hello. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET News.com, and I'm joined by Ina Fried, senior writer who covers the Microsoft beat. Hi, Ina. Thanks for joining us. >> Hey, Kara. >> So we are all sitting on pins and needles, just kind of waiting for this Microsoft-Yahoo deal to work itself out, or for some big news to come out of it. What's the latest? >> Pretty much, I mean it's been like this -- I liken it to the game of chicken, but a really slow game of chicken, where the cars are just moving really slowly towards each other. I mean basically, Microsoft, three weeks ago, said this Saturday deadline... >> Right. >> ...that was this past Saturday for Yahoo to either come to the table or it would take action. Now, initially, what Microsoft was saying was come to the table by this past Saturday, or we'll go directly to the Shareholders with our offer. >> Mm-hmm. >> Last week it changed its tone somewhat. It said take action or we'll either go directly to the shareholders, or we might pull our offer entirely. So now we're kind of waiting to see, you know, was that a hollow threat? Is Microsoft actually considering taking the offer off the table? So we're really waiting to see what Microsoft's gonna do. >> But the point is that they threw out the ultimatum. Saturday came and went. And nothing has really happened since. >> Yeah. And we're hearing that there aren't really a lot of face-to-face negotiations going on. So it's not like, you know, they're actually close to a deal and we just haven't heard about it. Or we really -- they've really been keeping a good secret. So I think we're gonna hear Microsoft, in the next couple days -- possibly as early as today -- say here's what we're gonna do. And, you know, certainly one option is to nominate its own slate of directors. We certainly heard that they have that slate lined up. I'm sure they've had it lined up for some time. >> Mm-hmm. >> And that would be the first step to trying to make its offer directly to shareholders. >> Well, that is obviously construed as a pretty hostile - I mean a takeover bid. And things could start getting really ugly from there. >> They could, you know. I mean one of the risks for the Microsoft deal is -- certainly they've talked about it being largely about keeping the good engineering talent. So the question is can they do this in a way where they still maintain it? Now one of the ways that we've heard they might do that is by offering a lot of money to both, I would think, Yahoo engineers, as well as Microsoft's own employees. >> And this is the 1.5 billion dollars that they've earmarked to pay out per employee. What is that, like, about 100,000 per employee, I think? >> That's what I read, and, you know, it is not uncommon in these types of things to use that as a short-term way to keep people in the fold while you go through what's, you know, a disruptive process for everyone. >> To say the least. So we've got about three options on the table, is that right? We've got the proxy. We've got the pullout. And we've got tender offer. >> Right. And the proxy could be a precursor to that tender offer. But they might make an offer right at the outset, or they might just nominate their own slate of directors. That gives them a little flexibility to actually make the offer and set that price closer to when they're ready to do a deal. >> Now, I know that you are constantly meeting with sources and talking to your contacts at Microsoft. And, I mean how do you think something's gonna shake out? I mean no way of really knowing, but do you think sooner than later? >> Yeah. You know, I think it'll definitely be this week that we hear something. And, you know, I would suspect today might be, you know, when we hear. So, you know, I'm certainly not planning to be too far from my desk when the bell closes today. >> Terrific. Well, I know that you and the rest of the News.com stable of writers are all constantly watching this. And we've got continuous coverage on the site. >> Definitely. >> And thank you very much for joining us. >> Thanks, Kara. >> Kara Tsuboi, CNET News.com ^M00:03:39 [ Music ]