Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer insisted Friday that he has no plans to revive a takeover bid for Yahoo Inc., saying his company has moved on since talks to buy the Sunnyvale Web portal collapsed this year.
But Ballmer left the door open to the two technology firms forging a partnership involving their search engines, an idea that he previously championed as a way to bolster his company's efforts to battle Google Inc.
"We made an offer, we made another offer, and it was clear that Yahoo didn't want to sell the business to us, and we moved on," Ballmer said at a business luncheon in Sydney, according to the Associated Press. "We are not interested in going back and re-looking at an acquisition."
Ballmer's comments came two days after Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said at an industry conference that he is open to a takeover and even went so far as to suggest that Microsoft should make an offer.
Yang wants to dispel criticism that he torpedoed the negotiations six months ago, when Microsoft proposed paying $33 per share for Yahoo, or $47.5 billion overall, but then withdrew the offer.
On Friday, Yahoo's shares fell $1.76, or 12.6 percent, to $12.20.
Yang is under intense pressure to do something to revive his company's slumping finances as it grapples with stiff competition from Google and the economic downturn. As of Wednesday, he had one less option.
Google, based in Mountain View, abandoned a proposed online advertising partnership with Yahoo after the Justice Department threatened an antitrust suit to block the No. 1 and No. 2 search engines from joining forces. Yahoo had touted the alliance and its expected proceeds as part of its rationale for remaining an independent company.
During the spring, Microsoft had offered to buy Yahoo's search business and combine it with its MSN Internet properties to increase their reach and make them more attractive to advertisers. But Yahoo rejected the proposal.
Friday, Ballmer said he still might be interested in a search partnership, but offered no specifics. Both Yahoo and Microsoft declined to comment about the possibility, or say whether the two companies are talking.
"I'm sure there are still some opportunities for some kind of partnership around search, but I think (an) acquisition is a thing of the past," Ballmer said in the Associated Press report.
Source : sfgate.com