Internet giant nixes $45 billion offer

If Microsoft — or some other bidder — wants to get its hands on Yahoo, it’s going to have to cough up more than $45 billion.

That was the message from the Netco’s board of directors Monday, when it confirmed weekend rumors by officially rejecting Microsoft’s acquisition bid. The strongly worded statement indicated that Yahoo’s board thinks the company is worth substantially more, even though the Microsoft bid represented a 62% premium over the stock’s then-current price.

“After careful evaluation, the board believes that Microsoft’s proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo, including our global brand, large worldwide audience, significant recent investments in advertising platforms and future growth prospects, free cash flow and earnings potential, as well as our substantial unconsolidated investments,” the company said Monday morning.

The statement left an ample opening for a higher bid from Microsoft or another suitor, however: “The board of directors is continually evaluating all of its strategic options in the context of the rapidly evolving industry environment, and we remain committed to pursuing initiatives that maximize value for all stockholders.”

Shareholders seemed confident that Yahoo will find a higher bid, as the stock Monday closed up 2.3% at $29.87.

Microsoft hasn’t made any specific moves in response to Yahoo’s decision, but it indicated Monday that it intends to press on by either raising its bid or taking the current offer directly to shareholders:

“Based on conversations with stakeholders of both companies, we are confident that moving forward promptly to consummate a transaction is in the best interests of all parties,” the tech giant said in a statement. “The Yahoo response does not change our belief in the strategic and financial merits of our proposal. As we have said previously, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo’s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.”

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