Rupert Murdoch weighed in on the Yahoo-Microsoft-Icahn threesome Thursday, saying it was "very unlikely" his media giant News Corp. would be involved any Yahoo deal, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Media reports last week indicated Microsoft might be interested in hooking up with News Corp. to make a joint bid for Yahoo and that Yahoo was also separately talking to News Corp. as well as a possible route toward fending off a proxy battle with investor activist Carl Icahn, who wants to push a sale of the company to Microsoft.
Murdoch, who spoke to reporters at the boutique banker Allen & Co.'s investment conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, added that it was unlikely Microsoft and Yahoo would end up in any deal, according to the AP:
"There won't be a deal. There are bad personal feelings," he said. "In six months, Microsoft will walk away."
On Monday, however, Microsoft threw its support behind Icahn, indicating that it might considering renewing its buyout bid for all of Yahoo, or possibly just its search business, if a new Yahoo board were elected. Icahn is interested in running a slate of dissident directors to unseat Yahoo's current board at the company's August 1 shareholders meeting.
Microsoft withdrew a sweetened buyout bid of $33 a share for Yahoo in early May when Yahoo countered with a $37 a share price. And talks to buy just Yahoo's search business ended last month, when Yahoo said Microsoft's offer would not be in the company's best interests and the software giant was no longer interested in rebidding for the company.
Two of Yahoo's largest shareholders are also at the Allen & Co. conference.
Murdoch, who apparently spoke to portfolio manager Gordon Crawford of Capital Research Global Investors at the conference, relayed to reporters that Crawford remained angry "he didn't get $33," according to the AP report, further noting that Crawford would take Microsoft's last buyout offer of $33 a share "in a flash."
And earlier in the week, portfolio manager Bill Miller of Legg Mason advised Icahn he could potentially generate more investor support for his proxy fight, if he were to indicate he would not be willing to sell to Microsoft for less than $33 a share.
Shares of Yahoo were down 1.4 percent to $23.17 a share in morning trading.