NEW YORK — The quiet induced by this week’s July 4th holiday is apparently making life tough for reporters and Wall Streeters, judging by the extraordinary reaction to Tuesday’s outlandish New York Post story that software giant Microsoft Corp. was considering a takeover bid for CBS. Despite Microsoft’s quick denial, stock in CBS parent Westinghouse Electric Corp. jumped to a new 52-week high and ended the day up 69¢ to $23.81.
Several Wall Street analysts rushed onto business TV shows to discuss the possible logic of the deal, while others desperately called around trying to get some confirmation. None was forthcoming. Microsoft broke its usual corporate policy to firmly deny the story: A spokeswoman said the company usually doesn’t comment on rumors, but the story was “not written as rumor but as fact. There is no truth to the story at all.”
It shouldn’t have taken Wall Streeters too long to figure out the story had some big problems. For one thing, Microsoft already has a broadcast partner in NBC and their deal precludes Microsoft allying itself with another network.