Yahoo's Microsoft Oscillator: Ballmer Speaks, Yahoo Shares Rise

Includes: AABA, MSFT
by: Eric Savitz

So, here’s a trading idea: figure out Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer’s public speaking schedule. And the day before, buy some Yahoo (YHOO) shares. Every time Ballmer steps in front of a mike and agrees to take questions, someone asks him about the possibility that Microsoft will buy Yahoo’s search business. And every time he’s asked that question, he says more or less the same thing: he’s still interested and a deal could work if they can agree on price.

Thursday morning, for instance, Ballmer was speaking at a media conference in New York sponsored by McGraw-Hill. My buds over at AllThingsD live blogged it.

Ballmer said he has talked briefly to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz by phone. “I’m sure when it’s appropriate, we’ll have a chance to sit down and talk,” he said today, adding that “there are returns to scale…putting the scale together is valuable.” He also said the company’s strategy would be the same “with or without a partnership with Yahoo.” And he said that “there are a lot of things that are fairly compelling economically in trying to put our two search efforts together in a partnership.”

Nothing new there, really, but the market apparently likes to be reminded periodically that the possibility of a deal between the two companies is not dead. Ergo, YHOO today is up 53 cents, or 4%, to $13.95.

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