This story is one you need to watch if you want to improve your negotiating skills.
Last Saturday Microsoft walked away from it’s bid to takeover Yahoo.
At first look, it might seem that this story is over.
Microsoft tried to get Yahoo to do a “friendly” merger, but Yahoo wouldn’t go for it, claiming that they were worth more than what Microsoft was bidding.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, had threatened to do a hostile takeover if Yahoo didn’t agree to a friendly merger.
But now Steve has withdrawn Microsoft’s bid.
No hostile takeover.
This story is not over – that’s what gives.
Steve Ballmer is one sharp man.
He is a real shark when it comes to business negotiating.
Some people love to vilify Microsoft and Bill Gates in particular. But many people don’t know ol’ Steve as well. And Steve is probably even more aggressive than Bill ever was.
Known for his hot temper in the past Steve’s gotten smoother in recent years.
And this latest move is possibly his smoothest negotiating move yet.
You see the big institutional money funds that own huge chunks of Yahoo are now seeing that Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo was a pretty good one.
So by “walking away” and not going hostile, Mr. Ballmer is letting pressure build up against Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and his board.
Had Ballmer launched into a hostile stock takeover, Microsoft would’ve been easily cast as big, bad, and evil as they have so many times before in their history.
But by walking away, and letting Yahoo’s stock tank, Ballmer let’s people see the true value of Microsoft’s offer and the emptiness of Jerry Yang’s claim that Yahoo was really worth a lot more.
This is classic sales takeaway negotiating happening in right in front of your eyes on a multi-billion dollar scale.
Ballmer “tookaway” the offer just as the bidding was getting interesting creating a vacuum that tanked Yahoo’s stock on Monday.
The pressure from institutional investors will likely build in the coming weeks for Yahoo to take Microsoft up on their offer. And it probably won’t be as favorable to Yahoo next time around.
Keep an eye on this story and you can learn some big lessons on power and negotiation.
Sell with Pride,
Shameless Shamus Brown