Microsoft announced today that it has presented an offer to the Yahoo! Inc. Board of Directors to buy all outstanding shares of Yahoo! stock. The proposal was $31 dollars per share, for a total of approximately $44.6 billion.
“We have great respect for Yahoo!, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market,” Microsoft said in a press release. ”We believe our combination will deliver superior value to our respective shareholders and better choice and innovation to our customers and industry partners.”
According to Yahoo!, this offer was unsolicited. Yahoo! says that it “will evaluate this proposal carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo!’s strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders.”
Yahoo! has been a major competitor in the Online Search and Services market for quite some time, while currently searching for about a quarter of all queries worldwide. In the next three years, online advertising is expected to reach $80 billion per year. Currently, this market is dominated by Google, but a Yahoo! buyout by Microsoft could help to change that.
It is unclear how offerings by the to companies would be changed by the buyout, but Microsoft has a plan for the process of merging:
“Microsoft has developed a plan and process that will include the employees of both companies to focus on the integration of the combined business. Microsoft intends to offer significant retention packages to Yahoo! engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines.”
This is not Microsoft’s first attempt at buying out the search engine.