Google Gearing Up for Microhoo Scrum?

Includes: GOOG, MSFT, YHOO
by: Larry Dignan

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has hired Frank Quattrone, a long-time Silicon Valley investment banker, and his firm Qatalyst as an adviser. Hiring Quattrone indicates that Google has no plans to let go quietly as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) makes its play for Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).

According to the New York Times’ DealBook blog, Google has retained Quattrone’s services. Quattrone, a controversial figure, recently launched an boutique investment firm dubbed Qatalyst. Microsoft’s pursuit of Yahoo is fluid to say the least. Yahoo directors are reportedly meeting Friday to discuss the Microsoft bid and a potential deal with AOL.

Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. de la Merced report:

Quattrone is advising Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, as the Internet giant figures out its next step in the takeover struggle between Yahoo and Microsoft, people briefed on the matter told DealBook.

Mr. Quattrone’s role — his first high-profile transaction since being cleared of obstruction of justice charges last year — arrives as the drama surrounding Yahoo reaches a new level of complexity.

The fact Google has retained Quattrone – Schmidt was quoted in the Qatalyst launch press release – isn’t surprising. But the move does indicate that Google is at least pondering the role of spoiler. Let’s see what Quattrone cooks up.