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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Last Call for Microhoo Scenarios

I chatted with some tech industry folk in Canada today and sifting through our posts here, they were confused as to whether I was for or against the Microhoo merger. To sum up, personally I have stated on a few occasions that from the standpoint of search advertisers (as practitioners), consolidation will be helpful if it happens, because it makes it easier to buy, promises better data and better overall product in the #2 player (eventually).

But as for precise buyout, merger, and integration scenarios, who knows, right? I remember being proud of calling Google-YouTube right, sort of. A lot of people critiqued the idea of the deal, and I thought it made sense. However, I thought Google might "buy it to kill it," and fold YouTube into Google video. Hey, small detail.

Anyway, I'm getting more interested in one of the low-probability scenarios outlined by Mona in this week's SEL column. Here's an even more precise version. Microsoft does the takeover, but with a side agreement with News Corp. in hand (that Yahoo also agrees with, on a high level handshake). Microsoft would identify the search, ad interface, display ad platform, network, tools, and other core portal & search assets that it wanted to consolidate. News Corp. would then inherit a significant number of content properties, at a healthy premium, in a flip from Microhoo.

News Corp's involvement would allow Microsoft to sweeten its offer by a couple of dollars, thus making it palatable to the Yahoo board.

Of course News Corp would need some assurances that its involvement would lead to wins for itself - presumably guarantees of advertiser dollars or something else.

We'll see.

Anyway, that's as pro-merger as I get. It makes sense on the search and search ads side, and with a savvy strategy to offload some of the content bulk to another organization, it gets more digestible.

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