If you believe the adage that anything is for sale at the right price, does that apply to Google?
This scenario – however seemingly implausible – struck me after Microsoft unveiled plans to spend $44.5-billion to acquire Yahoo. That’s a whack of cash but it pales in comparison to the $158.5-billion it would take to acquire Google (not including a takeover premium).
Still, does that price tag make a deal for Google a complete impossibility? Is Google eternally off the market? What if someone, a company or a group of investors believed that Google was terribly under-valued based on the idea Google will be the dominant player in the booming online advertising market?
What if five years down the road, the New Microsoft – armed with Yahoo, sales of more than $80-billion, lots of cash and strong online operations – decided to do an AOL-Time Warner kind of deal? Could that fly? Would that be possible?
This is all just food for thought because, for one, Google’s controlling shareholders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are committed for the long-term. Who knows, maybe a few bad quarters will suddenly make Google affordable to the point where Rupert Murdoch or Barry Diller become curious.
More: According to the Wall St. Journal (sub. required), Yahoo is exploring alternatives to a deal with Microsoft that will let it remain independent. Frankly, that seems highly unlikely given the 60% premium that Microsoft is offering.