Murdoch Rules Out Yahoo Combination

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By Andy Fixmer
Bloomberg News
Saturday, July 12, 2008

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch ruled out any discussions to help Yahoo fend off a possible takeover by Microsoft.

"We're not interested in Yahoo," Murdoch told reporters yesterday at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Microsoft will probably fail in any attempt to buy Yahoo, he added.

News Corp. and Yahoo discussed a combination to block an unsolicited takeover offer from Microsoft, a person familiar with the discussions said in February. Microsoft said this month that it may revive its bid if investors back Carl Icahn's effort to oust Yahoo's board and chief executive Jerry Yang.

Yahoo rose 7 cents, to $23.57, in Nasdaq trading. Microsoft lost 20 cents, closing at $25.25. News Corp. Class A shares declined 26 cents, to $14.30 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, and Yang, the founder of Yahoo, are also attending the retreat. Yang said Thursday that he didn't know if he would meet with Microsoft executives.

Gordon Crawford, a fund manager at Capital Research Global Investors, is angry that he couldn't sell his stock at Microsoft's offer of $33 a share, Murdoch said, adding that Crawford would have sold at that price "in a flash." Crawford declined to comment.

Mario Gabelli, another major stockholder, said Microsoft's offer may appeal to investors now that U.S. stocks are tumbling.

Murdoch predicted that Microsoft won't be successful in its efforts to buy Yahoo because of ill will between the companies' executives.

"There won't be a deal," Murdoch said. "In six months, they will walk away."

© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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