Some people are so eager for Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) to buy Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) that they will do anything to make it happen -- even spread rumors to gullible members of the media. I pity the investors who bought Yahoo!'s stock on this rumor.
Earlier today, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington reported that the talks were back on but also noted that "The information we have is thin, but what one source is saying that Microsoft is talking a price lower than the $33." Thin? So even Arrington was not sure whether he was being told the truth. Interesting.
CNET's Dawn Kawamoto refuted TechCrunch's post, arguing that all Microsoft wanted to do was "sweeten its previous offer" of a partial buyout of Yahoo!'s search business, citing "one major investor who has been in contact without parties."
So, Kawamoto is taking the word of one person to make such a bold statement. This person must be very important if both Microsoft and Yahoo! are willing to confide their most inner-most confidences in him or her. Or maybe not. It's tough to tell. Dow Jones Newswires also denied Arrington's report but added that its sources "indicated the companies might be open to alternative transactions" whatever that means.
Undaunted, Arrington updated his original post to add "What we've heard is that the two sides are in current discussions over a complete buyout, not necessarily that there's a deal in place or even that Microsoft has made any kind of firm offer. Another source at Microsoft reiterates to us that they're a buyer at the right price, but isn't saying what that price is." I was shocked to learn that everything is for sale at the right price.
CNBC complicated matters further by saying there were no new talks going on, citing a source close to Microsoft (probably one of the army of flacks employed by the world's largest software company.) Confused? You should be.
I have no idea who is right or who is wrong. Today's Yahoo!'s drama underscores what everyone's parents told them when they were children: Don't believe everything you read, especially in today's hyper-competitive media environment where the line between fact and rumor is blurry. Okay, I added that last part but you get the idea.