Kara Swisher

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MicroHoo: Another Day, Another Letter


Hurry up and wait!

New key date to put on your Yahoo-Microsoft takeover schedule: April 22, 2008, at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT.

That’s the time of Yahoo’s (YHOO) first-quarter earnings call, which will be essentially where the rubber meets the road in the ongoing battle between the two companies.

Barring a raise in price by Microsoft (MSFT) or the emergence of a viable alternative–like Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL (which, let me repeat until it sinks in, is a bad idea and sounds horridly complex)–Yahoo’s performance and ongoing guidance in that call will be what matter most in the next chapter of this digital telenovela.

And what a dullish telenovela it is, as the drip-drip-drip of missives continued yesterday, as Yahoo leadership–CEO Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock–responded to the come-out-with-your-hands-up letter the company received from Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer over the weekend.

What a shock: Yahoo disagreed with Microsoft’s assertion that its business was troubled and that its value was less than the $31-per-share premium that the software giant had offered to acquire the Internet portal.

Jostling for position, Yahoo declared that it wanted more money and more respect for the favor it would do Microsoft if it allowed the purchase to take place.

Read the letter: “Our position is simply that any transaction must be at a value that fully reflects the value of Yahoo, including any strategic benefits to Microsoft, and on terms that provide certainty to our stockholders.

“Since disclosing our Board’s position with respect to your proposal, we have presented our three-year financial and strategic plan to our stockholders, which supports our Board’s determination that your unsolicited proposal substantially undervalues Yahoo.”

And the money quote: “We continue to believe that your proposal is not in the best interests of Yahoo and our stockholders.”

We’ll see about that on April 22, I guess.