By all accounts, it's been a hellish year for Yahoo and its CEO Jerry Yang.
A battle over the Microsoft buyout bid, a proxy fight with billionaire investor Carl Icahn, a game of chicken with antitrust regulators, and finally, a search for a new CEO, have all left Yahoo and Yang ready to tell Father Time goodnight.
What a year it's been for Yahoo. The company took center stage in the technology sector, grabbing headlines left and right with each twist and turn in its various battles.
The drama began in February when Microsoft announced its unsolicited buyout bid valued at $31 a share, or $44.6 billion. That quickly drove Yahoo's share price from its slumbering $19 range to as high as $30.25, as investors began frothing at the mouth.
But Yahoo issued a public rejection two weeks later, saying the deal undervalued the company. For the next six weeks, various members of Yahoo's management team talked with Microsoft execs, but never in a formalized fashion.
Frustrated by the lack of progress with the talks, and aware Yahoo was out seeking a white knight, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent a letter to Yahoo's board with an ultimatum--do the deal within a three-week deadline, or face a proxy fight, a possible lowering of the offer, or an abandonment of the deal.
There at the meeting, Ballmer upped the buyout price to $33 a share, to which Yang countered with $37 a share and also a threat that Yahoo would initiate a search advertising deal with Google if Microsoft waged a proxy fight. That negotiation session was the last between the companies for a full buyout of Yahoo.
With that deal kaput, Yahoo shareholder activist Carl Icahn entered the picture less than two weeks later, announcing his proxy fight to unseat Yahoo's current board. Icahn, as well as a number of other large Yahoo investors, were fuming that the deal had been lost and were ready to charge like raging bulls.
Several days later, Microsoft re-emerged on the scene with an offer to acquire just Yahoo's search business. That deal, however, was rejected.
By mid-June, Yahoo announced that Microsoft was no longer interested in acquiring the company and that it would, instead, partner with rival Google on search advertising. Yahoo's stock took a hit on the news.
A month later, Microsoft teamed up with Icahn to again make a partial bid for just Yahoo's search business. That deal, too, was shot down.
In the backdrop of the drama, Yahoo's shareholder meeting date was fast approaching and would give Icahn a chance to try to unseat Yahoo's existing board and convince shareholders to elect his slate. But before it got to that point, Icahn and Yahoo reached a settlement that called for Icahn and two of the members from his dissident slate to join Yahoo's board of directors.
Yahoo was able to avert the Icahn crisis. But as that wound down, another fight was brewing on the antitrust front. The U.S. Department of Justice decided to investigate Yahoo's search advertising deal with Google, which had been put on hold until regulators could determine whether it would violate antitrust laws. Yahoo's ad customers, via the Association of National Advertisers, had also weighed in with the DOJ to oppose the deal.
After numerous meetings and various proposals to change the agreement, Yahoo and Google ultimately walked away from the deal when the DOJ informed the companies in early November it would file a lawsuit to block the partnership from going forward.
Yahoo's plans to generate as much as $800 million in revenues from Google in the first year of the partnership disappeared with the deal.
Less than two weeks later--in mid-November--Yahoo announced that Yang will step down as CEO as soon a replacement is found. The co-founder of the Internet search pioneer, however, will remain on the company's board and resume his title as "Chief Yahoo."
And so 2008 ends on a "no" note: no Microsoft deal, no Google deal, and soon, no CEO with the last name of Yang.
The offer--described by Yahoo as "unsolicited"--amounts to $31 per share, or a 62 percent premium above its closing stock price.
Board unanimously concludes that Microsoft's half-stock, half-cash offer "substantially undervalues" Yahoo. Yang's follow-up letter to Yahoo staffers.
Here's the full text of a letter Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote to Yahoo's board of directors threatening a proxy fight and lower bid if Yahoo doesn't make a decision about Microsoft's offer in three weeks.
Despite last-minute talks amid an increased offer from Microsoft, the two sides could not strike a deal.
Microsoft didn't value Yahoo highly enough, Yahoo said after Microsoft's withdrew its acquisition offer. Yang calls the episode a "distraction" that's "behind us now."
Billionaire shareholder activist Carl Icahn announces a 10-member proxy slate and is seeking antitrust clearance to acquire up to another $2.5 billion in Yahoo shares.
Microsoft announces it has issued another proposal to Yahoo that calls for an acquisition of some but not all of Yahoo's assets.
Internet company says Microsoft is no longer willing to pay $33 a share for the company. A Yahoo-Google search deal is imminent, a source tells CNET News.com.
Google will supply Yahoo with search ads in a partnership Yahoo believes will raise revenue by $800 million in its first year--but that also could give more power to Google.
The call goes out for Yahoo investors to oust the current board and elect Carl Icahn's dissident slate instead. Microsoft says yeah, we'd talk with a new board.
Yahoo issues a statement rejecting joint-proposal by Microsoft and Carl Icahn to buy the Yahoo's search business.
The activist investor, who plans to recommend two more directors and withdraw his other nominees, will be included in a board expansion to 11 members.
Association of National Advertisers announces it has sent a letter to the top antitrust chief for the U.S. Department of Justice, issuing its objections to the controversial Yahoo-Google search ad partnership.
Google and Yahoo are already familiar names. But soon, hired gun Sandy Litvack may be too, should this long-time antitrust attorney and consultant to the Department of Justice pursue a case against the companies.
Google gives up the partnership, shying away from the Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit threat and possible damage to its advertiser relations. Yahoo isn't happy.
Jerry Yang will step back to his chief Yahoo role as soon as a successor is found for the CEO role, Yahoo announces.
Shares of the company free-fall following comments by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that the software giant is not interested in a Yahoo acquisition.
Microsoft officially names the former Yahoo search executive. In the process, however, Microsoft is losing top ad executive Brian McAndrews.