Microsoft made an offer of $44.6bn for Yahoo! recently which Yahoo! rejected saying it â€œsubstantially undervaluesâ€ the company (personally I think it waaaaay overvalued Yahoo! and Microsoft caught a lucky break that the offer was spurned).
The New York Times is reporting today though that Microsoft are determined to follow through on this.
However, both the New York Times and News.com have published a story today that Yahoo! have offered golden parachute to all its remaining employees (it terminated around 1,000 of its 14,000 employees in the last week).
According to the News.com report, the package:
will kick into effect should that employee lose his job within two years after a new owner takes over, should she get terminated without cause, or if the employee decides it’s time to leave for “good reason.”
…The golden parachute also includes health and dental coverage for the length of employees’ severance awards, as well as reimbursement of outplacement services up to two years, or a maximum of $15,000, depending on job title
In any significant merger there are necessarily layoffs (particularly of people with similar job functions) – this seems like a cynical ploy on Yahoo!s part to up the price indirectly for Microsoft while grabbing some goodwill headlines at the same time.
Back in September the New York Times went from a subscription model to free for almost all of its content. The thinking being that the ad revenue from the extra pageviews would be greater than the loss in subs.
The Wall Street Journal has now gone the free route too. According to this Associated Press story, Wall Street Journal owner Rupert Murdoch said:
We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having one million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth
The article went on to state that:
Murdoch said he believes that a free model, with increased readership for wsj.com, will attract “large numbers” of big-spending advertisers.
When the New York Times went free I asked, how long before the Irish Times realises the folly of its paywall? When hell freezes over seemed to be the consensus! Now with the Wall Street Journal also going free, why would anyone pay for online news? And when will the Irish Times realise the folly of its paywall? The longer they have it in place, the less relevant they (and their writers) become.
UPDATE: – The New York Times online readership has soared since they stopped charging for access (no surprise there) according to numbers released today by neilsen.
The New York Times is reporting this morning that Microsoft has bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook for $240m, this values the company at $15bn.
This values Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 23 year old founder at $3bn and Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that invested $12.7 million in May 2005 now owns 11 percent of Facebook stock worth a cool $1.65 billion.
The deal must be a huge relief for Microsoft after the stories circulating yesterday that Google were about to beat them to the post (pun intended!) in buying a piece of Facebook.
This is a dream deal for Facebook as they yield only 1.6% of the company and still manage to scoop $240m.
What is in it for Microsoft? Well, on the one hand, as the New York Times reports:
As part of the deal, Microsoft will sell the banner ads appearing on Facebook outside of the United States, splitting the revenue with it. Last year, Microsoft struck a deal with Facebook to run banner ads on the site in the United States through 2011.
but, probably equally importantly, Microsoft has stymied Google’s plans to own advertising rights on Facebook.
Is Facebook really worth $15bn? Who knows. A company is worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Today, for whatever reason it is worth $15bn to Microsoft. Who knows what it will be worth next week.