Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has told Yahoo ‘No way' after the former search giant pleaded with the software company to offer to buy it again.
"Look, we made an offer; we made another offer. It was clear that Yahoo didn't want to sell the business to us, and we moved on," Ballmer said during a speech today at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch in Sydney.
"We're not interested in going back and relooking at an acquisition. I don't know why they would be either, frankly. They turned us down at $33 a share; move on".
Back in July when Microsoft pulled out of talks to purchase Yahoo, Ballmer said: "It didn't work out, fine, we're done, we can move on. Does that mean nobody will ever talk to anybody again? I suspect the answer to that is also no. It's a long time and a big world, but we are moving on."
During a keynote appearance at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said: "To this day I would say that the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo".
Asked by conference chair John Battelle whether Yahoo's asking price would be in the range it was in May, Yang said: "Oh no. At the right price, whatever the price is."
A year ago Yahoo's stock price closed at close to $27 per share: now it's below $14 per share - making that final offer from Microsoft of $33 per share a very attractive one in hindsight.
Yet, for three months between February and May, Ballmer pursued Yahoo and got rebuffed, while Yang, in the eyes of his critics, seemingly tried to do his best to repel Microsoft.
Except for recent rumors that Yahoo might acquire AOL - rumours that have again lost steam - Yang finds himself without many options for a quick solution to Yahoo's woes. Microsoft is now no longer interested in acquiring Yahoo, and the Google partnership has collapsed.
As he has maintained since May, Yang told Battelle that the perception that he tried to sabotage the Microsoft bid to keep Yahoo independent is incorrect. At the time Microsoft walked away, Yahoo was still willing to negotiate and felt they were getting closer to an agreement.
Yang also said he's disappointed that the DOJ adopted such a negative attitude towards the Google deal, saying the government failed to properly understand the implications of the agreement. He also expressed disappointment that Google opted to give up.
Still, Yang was optimistic that Yahoo will be able to snap out of its technology and financial funk through the ambitious projects it is engaged in. He mentioned Y OS, the initiative to open Yahoo services up more broadly to outside developers and to create for end users a single dashboard to manage their Yahoo services and online activities in general. He also cited its new APT advertising platform, designed to simplify the buying and selling of ads for marketers and publishers.
Yet, the conversation circled back to Microsoft and the acquisition that wasn't. Yang reiterated his willingness to sit down and talk, even about a search partnership. In June, after walking away from the acquisition bid, Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo's search business, but Yahoo opted for the more limited deal with Google. "With Microsoft, if they want to buy the whole company, we're around for that," Yang said.
"As far as a search deal goes, we're very open-minded about it," he added.
In June, Yahoo determined that Microsoft's offer to buy its search business wasn't in its best interest. But today? "It doesn't mean we won't do one. As we go through thinking about where we want to take the company in the future, we remain open to everything," he said.