Sunday, February 24, 2008


Call 1: "Media and ICT" / "Innovative ICT uses in communities"

6 articles have been selected (1 English-speaking), among which :

- Emily Aggrey : ICTs for development, Ghana's rural community on the move
- Ramata Soré : Sud-Ouest du Burkina Faso : Des cybercafés pour éclairer les paysans
- Gérard Guedegbe : Tic et développement des médias au Bénin, un partenariat encore fragile
- Théodore Kouadio : Le mobile et l'Internet servent de béquilles
- Christophe Assogba : Développement des activités rurales au Bénin, la partition des TIC
- Kokouvi Eklou : Décentralisation au Bénin, les TIC en marge du développement local

Download the selction here : .


Call 2: Blogging in West Africa

13 articles have been short listed (2 English-speaking) among which :

- Remmy Nweke : Blogging in West Africa
- Patrick Djossou : Opération coup de blogs électoraux au Sénégal : le meilleur clic avec l'e-maire Ziguinchor
- Ramata Soré : Les journalistes ouest-africains s'approprient le virtuel
- Juvénal Somé : Rencontre avec le journaliste burkinabé San evariste Barro : "Etre parmi les précurseurs du blog au Burkina Faso est une fierté pour moi"
- Ibrahima Lissa Faye : Blog et démocratie au Sénégal : affranchissement
- Romain Lucien Badoussi : Je blogue donc je suis

Download the pdf file here : .

Call 3: ICT and local governance in rural and sub-urban areas

7 articles have been retained (2 English-speaking) among which :

- Mawutodzi K. Abissath : Taking ICTs closer to rural people in Ghana
- Remmy Nweke : Nigeria, Developing rural telephony via PPP
- Gérard Guédégbé : L'Internet pour faciliter la vie communautaire
- Juvénal Somé : Le génie de Brice Korabié, le vétérinaire communicateur
- Ramata Soré : Le Net pour connaître le cours du prix des produits céréaliers
- Théodore Kouadio : Milieu rural, les TIC pour développer la production du champignon comestible

Download the selection here : .

Call 4: "Uses of blogs in Africa" / "ICTs and local/democratic governance"

This call for production (articles and radio) was launched at the occasion of the 3rd Regional Workshop on Media and ICT issues <>. It enabled 21 applicants to attend the event.

The following file includes the 12 best articles produced (5 English-speaking) among which :

- Roukiattou Ouedraogo : Sur la trace de bloggeurs burkinabés
- Nadia Zibilila : Blogs en Afrique, l'initiative de l'Union des journalistes indépendants du Togo
- N'Coué Bonaventure Mawuvi : TIC et gouvernance au Togo, à quand le réveil ?
- Willy Eya : Improving governance through ICT
- Segun Oruame Nigeria : The election that failed ICT
- Momodouh Jaiteh : The Gambia, what ICT and democratic governance mean in practice
- Harrison Allechenu Akoh : Impact of ICTs in democratic governance

You were already able to read the articles on Haayo website <,31-.html>, please find them now unveiled by "call-package" below (pdf downloads).

The 5th call for articles about "ICT and elections", also entitled "Haayo Prize 2008" has new been launched. The contest is running until March 15th, 2008.

To read the call, please click here : .

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Newsroom Barometer Survey on multimedia Gets Underway

The World Editors Forum, Reuters and Zogby International began collecting data for the second annual Newsroom Barometer, a global survey of chief editors about their attitudes and strategies in the multimedia age.

The Newsroom Barometer aims to provide a better understanding of the changes in newsrooms through the eyes of editors-in-chief and senior news executives.

Senior editors wishing to participate in the on-line survey, which tracks attitudes about the future of media and editorial strategies, should send their requests by e-mail to Bertrand Pecquerie, Director of the World Editors Forum, at (including name, title, newspaper name and country).

The Barometer is being conducted in eight languages to expand its reach beyond the four languages that were provided last year (English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Japanese).

The 2008 poll results will be published in the next Trends in Newsroom report ( ) and presented by John Zogby, President of Zogby International and Monique Villa, Head of News, Reuters, at the 15th World Editors Forum to be held in Göteborg, Sweden, from 1 to 4 June next ( ).

The first Newsroom Barometer, released last year, found the vast majority of newspaper editors world-wide are optimistic about the future of their newspapers. Full results can be found at

The Paris-based World Editors Forum ( is the organisation of the World Association of Newspapers that represents editors-in-chief and other senior news executives. WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000 newspapers: its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 11 regional and world-wide press groups.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wikileaks vows to fight on despite court injunction

A whistle-blowing website forced offline by a Californian court for alleging cases of international fraud has vowed to fight the closure.

Dynadot, the web-domain company that hosts, was ordered last week to remove the site from the internet after Swiss bank Julius Baer sought an injunction against it for publishing documents alleging questionable offshore activities - including money laundering and tax evasion - allegedly supported by the bank in the Cayman Islands.

Another iteration of the website, with its domain name registered in Belgium, attacked the ruling as 'unconstitutional' and vowed to 'step up' publication of documents that allege illegal and unethical banking practices.

"Wikileaks will keep on publishing, in fact, given the level of suppression involved in this case, Wikileaks will step up publication of documents pertaining to illegal or unethical banking practices," stated a post on the Belgian site.

Judge Jeffery White signed the injunction, in San Francisco last week, which ordered the site be taken down as the bank would face 'immediate harm' if it did not get 'injunctive relief'.

awyers working on behalf of Julius Baer claimed the documents on the site would have a detrimental effect on another case involving the bank, claimed the Sydney Morning Herald.

Last year, Wikileaks came to greater public knowledge for alleging money laundering by the former president of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi.

The story became international news, claiming a front-page article in The Guardian in September and helped swing the popular vote during the Kenyan elections in December.

Tags for this article: legal, wikileaks, wiki

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yahoo rejects Microsoft approach

Microsoft and Yahoo logos
Microsoft made its first unsolicited offer for Yahoo a year ago
Yahoo has rejected a takeover bid worth more than $40bn from computer software giant Microsoft because it is too low.

Yahoo said the offer "substantially undervalues" the company and is not in shareholders' interests.

Microsoft's offer was worth $31 a share, 62% above the level at which Yahoo shares were trading when the offer was made on 1 February.

A merged Microsoft and Yahoo would be one of the world's biggest technology firms, and would challenge Google.

Strategic options

As it rejected the Microsoft offer, Yahoo said that the deal undervalued its brand, audience, investments in advertising platforms and future growth prospects, free cash flow and earnings potential.

The company said that its board of directors was continually evaluating all of its strategic options.

A source quoted by the Wall Street Journal said that Yahoo's board would be unlikely to consider anything below $40 per share.

A $40 a share offer would be a 109% premium to the $19.18 closing price of Yahoo's shares the day before the original offer was announced.

Yahoo's shares have not traded above $40 for two years.

Although its shares have fallen sharply since then, Yahoo's websites remain among the world's most popular.

Microsoft's original offer was worth as much as $44.6bn, but since the deal was announced Microsoft shares have fallen sharply.

As half of Microsoft's offer is in cash and half in stock, that has reduced the value of the bid to about $41.8b.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yahoo to Reject Microsoft Buyout Offer, May Find Few Options

By Ari Levy and Zachary R. Mider

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Yahoo! Inc., the Internet company that has
failed to crack Google Inc.'s dominance of Web search, plans to reject
a $44.6 billion takeover bid from Microsoft Corp., a person familiar
with the situation said.

The board spent a week reviewing the $31-per-share unsolicited offer
before deciding it was too low, and directors are likely to reject it
tomorrow, said the person, who declined to be identified because the
discussions aren't public. Yahoo wants at least $40, the Wall Street
Journal reported yesterday.

The decision steps up pressure on co-founder Jerry Yang to present
investors with a strategy to revive a stock that lost half its value
in the two years before the offer. He may look to outsource its search
efforts to Google or find another buyer, though analysts said it is
unlikely that any other options will emerge and Microsoft may make a
higher offer to win.

``A lot of this is gamesmanship on the part of Yahoo,'' said Scott
Kessler, an equity analyst at Standard & Poor's in New York who
recommends holding Yahoo and buying Microsoft. ``Microsoft is well
aware that Yahoo doesn't have any other options. What this is about is
how much Microsoft wants Yahoo and how much time they're willing to
wait to get this deal done.''

Microsoft, the biggest software maker, could pay $40 for No. 2
Internet search company Yahoo, Kessler said. It is more likely the
companies reach a deal for less, he said. UBS AG's Heather Bellini,
the top-ranked software analyst by Institutional Investor, said last
week Microsoft may have to bid $34 to $37.

Yahoo spokeswoman Diana Wong said yesterday the company doesn't
comment on rumors or speculation. Microsoft spokesmen Frank Shaw and
Bill Cox didn't return calls yesterday.

Yang Resists

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, has posted eight straight
quarters of profit declines and spent years trying and failing to
catch up with Google in Web queries and the lucrative market for ads
linked to search results.

Together, Microsoft and Yahoo would control more than a quarter of the
market for animated ads and colorful display banners at the top of Web
pages. Google hasn't made much progress there, giving the combined
company a way to challenge Google and start going after emerging
markets such as mobile-phone ads.

Still, Yang, 39, has resisted letting go of the company he co-founded
in 1995 as a graduate student at Stanford University. He replaced
Terry Semel as chief executive officer in June and intended to craft a
strategy to revitalize Yahoo.

Hostile Measures

Yahoo is betting Microsoft won't take hostile measures to win the bid,
the Journal said, even though the software maker has indicated that is
a possibility. A person familiar with the matter said last week that
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft may seek to oust Yahoo directors
should they reject its offer.

``Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure
that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to
realize the value inherent in our proposal,'' Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer said in a letter to Yahoo's board that was made public when
the offer was announced Feb. 1.

Yahoo rose 16 cents to $29.20 Feb. 8 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading
and Microsoft added 44 cents to $28.56.

The offer is 62 percent more than Yahoo's stock price before the bid.
The shares have climbed above the value of the cash-and- stock bid,
showing shareholders expect a higher price. Microsoft plans to let
investors choose cash or stock, at a ratio that will end up being
about 50-50.

Microsoft shares have declined since the bid, lowering the value of
the stock portion and pushing the total value of the deal to about
$29.08 a share.

Yahoo is getting financial advice from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.,
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Moelis & Co., according to two
people familiar with the matter. Morgan Stanley and Blackstone Group
LP are counseling Microsoft.

Google Possibility

Yahoo might seek help from rivals, soliciting other bids or seeking
partnerships with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. or Google to thwart
Microsoft, according to analysts including Stanford Group Co.'s
Clayton Moran.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt contacted Yang to suggest a partnership, the
New York Times reported Feb. 4. A partnership with Mountain View,
California-based Google may allow Yahoo to outsource its search
service, shedding the costs of running its own search engine and
sharing ad revenue with its larger rival.

Google spokesman Matt Furman declined to comment.

While a Google partnership is an option, it would face stiff
regulatory scrutiny, Moran said. News Corp. isn't interested in
bidding for Yahoo, Murdoch said on a Feb. 4 conference call. That
means Yang's options probably won't pan out, said Andrew Frank, a New
York-based analyst at researcher Gartner Inc.

The U.S. Justice Department is ``interested'' in reviewing the
antitrust implications of a Yahoo-Microsoft transaction, spokeswoman
Gina Talamona said after the bid was announced. Neelie Kroes,
commissioner of competition for the European Commission, said her
agency also would scrutinize a deal.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Fwd: Call for proposals - OURMedia 7: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation – Alternative Communication in a Globalized World

11-15 August 2008, Accra, Ghana





OURMedia 7: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation –

Alternative Communication in a Globalized World

will be held in Accra, the capital of Ghana, from 11-15 August 2008.


What OURMedia is about


Founded in 2001, OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios is a global network with the goal of facilitating a long-term dialogue between academics, activists, practitioners and policy experts around citizens' media initiatives.  [www. ourmedia…..]


OURMedia is about building an alternative world, rooted in local knowledge, anchored in strong identities but also connected to global networks, open to 'otherness', diversity and inclusion.


Alternative communication for an alternative world


OURMedia 7 is built on the assumption that alternative communication – a diversity of actors, voices, themes and discourses - needs to flourish and take hold to create alternative worlds.  It sees equity, community and cultural identity as the hallmarks of an alternative world. 


Our Media 7 - In Africa, and in the world


OURMedia is coming to Africa for the first time through OM7.  The previous six conferences (OM1-OM6) were held in Washington, D.C., USA; Barcelona, Spain; Barranquilla, Colombia; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Bangalore, India; and Sydney, Australia.


Like the other conferences, OM7 will be shaped by the living experience of its host country and region.  For Ghana and much of Africa, that experience has tended to be portrayed by the world media in terms of deprivation and destruction, or as curiosities.  Yet, this vast, diverse and vibrant continent nourishes many of the values, traditions and practices that can enrich communication in an alternative world.   


Like previous  OURMedia conferences, OM7 is an opportunity to dialogue and strengthen initiatives around common causes with the rest of the world.   In the case of OM7, the conference is also an invitation to better understand the complex and dynamic reality of Africa that informs and potentially deepens such dialogue and initiatives.



AKWAABA (Welcome), OURMedia,

to Ghana and through Ghana, to Africa and the world!!!



The 3 Sub-themes of OURMedia 7


OM7 has selected three sub-themes – Identity, Inclusion and Innovation - that are key dimensions of alternative communication in, for and towards an alternative world. These may be regarded as different faces of marginalization in a world where expression is becoming increasingly uniform, majorities are being excluded (and even exploited), and certain kinds of knowledge and experience are presented as having more value than others. At the same time, the assertion of identity, inclusion and innovation are the very sources of strength to overcome homogenization, exclusion and relegation.



If identity is rooted in culture, the confluence of shared understanding, practice and communication, how can and does cultural diversity – and a multiplicity of media - contribute to an alternative world? This sub-theme speaks to the multiplicity of world-views - imaginaries - waiting to be spoken out loud.  In Africa in particular, but also worldwide, the knowledge and experience embedded in oral tradition and held by indigenous peoples remain powerful yet relatively unexplored and underutilized in global and national mainstream media. Whether in the global North or South, displacements of various kinds have left many grappling with, and grasping for, their sense of themselves and their values.



How can and does communication contribute to the development of an alternative world that is inclusive, provides "platforms of equality" and connects and bridges different cultural and communication societies.  In today's world, exclusion rather than inclusion is often the dominant experience.  There are many faces to exclusion.  Some of the most familiar are given generic names - poverty, gender, youth, indigenous people, minorities.  Whatever the form it may take or the level at which it occurs, exclusion always reflects an imbalance in relationships.  The imbalance is often maintained with force, whether overt (ranging from legislation to physical violence or armed conflict) or less immediately palpable (including, for example, traditional attitudes and beliefs). Not incidentally, fundamental to exclusion are the strictures on the Right to Communicate itself – ranging from forms of expression to the content of discourse to access to the organization of technological media. Thus, people creating their own media is core to inclusion.  Often, the process requires the development of vibrant, rights-aware communities and people-centred policies and regulation.



How can and does communication enable innovation and the renewal of the diversity of human experience that is vital to an alternative world? Innovation happens everyday everywhere, as people try to make sense of and relate to their world.  Whether identified with day-to-day or modern technology, the creative impulse is key in transforming the processes and institutions needed to create an alternative world.  Transformation can only happen if communication itself - those who speak or otherwise express, those who process and the ways and platforms in which this happens - is transformed.  For example, where do the new communication technologies and practices lie:  will they simply be about new-ness or will they be innovative in a social sense, both promoting and embodying genuine transformation? 


Exploring alternative dimensions and challenging dominant patterns


Against the backdrop of the three sub-themes of Identity, Inclusion and Innovation, OM7 will seek to articulate dimensions of alternative communication that privilege diversity and equity, while challenging and critiquing dominant communication patterns based on hegemonies and hierarchies.   Below are some dimensions of alternative communication and dominant patterns of communication.  Of particular interest to OM7 are the relationships – or more precisely, the imbalances in the relationships – between them.  OM7 also recognizes that the seeds of one are often in the other.  For example, communication may be alternative in form but hegemonic in content.  On the other hand, apparently oppressive systems of communication may be subverted by creative interventions.        


Dimensions of

alternative communication

^  oral, aural, pictorial, visual and other symbolic communication (e.g. the language of symbols) – traditional and contemporary

^  diversity of languages and other forms of expression

^  experience-based knowledge-generation and technologies

^  marginalized voices, people-centred discourse and social relationships in negotiation

^  communal values, resources, systems and media of communication and interaction

^  ascendance of civil society and social networks and movements of communication and engagement

Current dominant

patterns of communication

Þ  primacy accorded to the written word and a few languages

Þ  corporate systems of production and transmission 

Þ  technology bias in development and application of new information and communication technologies

Þ  media-centric conventions, representation and ethics

Þ  commodification, appropriation and corporate ownership of communication and other key resources

Þ  dominant policy discourses and institutions that embed hierarchical communication



6 Emerging Focal Areas

Based on the sub-themes, OM7 proposes to develop six focal areas:

^    oral and symbolic communication

^    diversity of expression

^    knowledge-generation-and-transmission

^    marginalized voices, groups and cultures

^    communal systems of communication

^    social communication networks.


Globally critical challenges   


Given the urgency, pervasiveness and persistence of the challenges they pose, it is expected that OM7 will offer new perspectives and highlight effective experiences with respect to Communication in relation to Development, Education, Human Rights, and Peace-building and Conflict-resolution.  Many of these perspectives and experiences are expected to be in the Focal Areas.



Continuing the OURMedia thread


Through its sub-themes, by exploring the relationship between the dimensions of alternative communication and dominant patterns of communication, and by sharpening its focal areas, OM7 will build on the wealth of experience shared and knowledge generated in previous OURMedia conferences.  In particular, the Call for Proposals wishes to recall the topics addressed in OM6 under the following headings:    Community Media Research; Participation and Social Change,
Community Media and Policy; Media Activism, Civil Society and Social Movements;
Local Culture and Media Diversity; New Technologies and Media Convergence;
Community and Public Access Broadcasting; Indigenous Media; and Young People and Grass-Roots Communication.  [For a full list of the topics, see the OURMedia website.]


The design of OURMedia 7


OM7 will have three main parts:  the "Conference proper", a Community Radio Symposium, and a Festival.


The Conference will include plenary sessions featuring a keynote speaker and a keynote performance on each of the sub-themes - Identity, Inclusion, Innovation - followed by thematic panels and parallel sessions across various media and issues.


Coinciding with the 10th year on-air of Radio Ada, a pioneer Community Radio station in Ghana, OM7 will integrate a Community Radio Symposium that will reflect on, critique and celebrate the role of Community Radio worldwide in relation to identity, inclusion and innovation. 


The Festival will feature exhibitions that express the OURMedia 7 themes through various media and experiences.  Open to the public, the Festival will be a means of connecting OURMedia 7 with the outside world and ensuring that it re-invigorates the theme and leaves an imprint among people outside of and beyond the Conference. 


The organizing committee


The event in Ghana is being organized by the Ghana Coordinating Committee (GCC), a group that has gathered around OURMedia 7 and that brings together community radio practitioners, academicians, artists and civil society and media advocates.  These include, among others, the Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the School of Communication Studies and the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, and Participatory Development Associates.  This core group is being expanded with other partners from the African region and elsewhere and works with the OURMedia 7 International Working Group. 

The GCC see themselves as facilitators and are desirous that the very process of organizing OURMedia 7 should, in keeping with the theme, be as inclusive as possible.




Invitation to submit proposals


OM7 invites proposals that develop the exposition of its sub-themes and emerging focal areas.


As the proposal form below shows, presentations may take different forms.


Proposals from groups combining different disciplines, experiences and creative expressions are encouraged. 


The richness and diversity of the proposals will give final shape to the OM7 programme.


Language of submission


It is regretted that proposals will need to be submitted in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish.  Only translation between these four languages can be guaranteed at this stage.    (English and Spanish are the initial working languages of OURMedia.  French and Portuguese are, in addition to English, the two main working languages in sub-Saharan Africa.)


However, the proposal form allows for the possibility that a presentation may be made in a language other than the four named.  Presentations in indigenous languages are also encouraged, but proponents are kindly asked to prepare to provide their own translations.


Deadline for submission


The deadline for submission is 29 February 2008.


How to submit your proposal


Proposals may be submitted in one of two ways:


·      Online, or


·      By post to: The Secretariat, OURMedia7, P O Box KA9492, Accra, Ghana.


In either case, the proposal should have been received by the deadline.


11-15 August 2008, Accra, Ghana,

Theme: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation –

Alternative Communication in a Globalized World


Name of individual/group/organization making proposal:




What is the working title of your proposal?



Which sub-theme/s will your presentation focus on?  Please tick as appropriate.

/____/             Identity     /____/  Inclusion     /____/ Innovation


What is the nature of your presentation?  Please tick as appropriate.

/____/             Creative writing            /____/  Performance

/____/  Research paper          /____/   Theoretical paper

/____/  Symbolic media (e.g., indigenous symbols)

/____/ Visual or other media presentation (video, film, cartoons, street art, electronic art, etc)


Where do you see your proposal featuring at OM7?

/____/             Conference

/____/  Community Radio Symposium

/____/  Festival


What format would you prefer to use for your presentation?

/____/  Individual paper or performance

/____/  Panel or cohort

/____/  Workshop


In which spoken language do you propose to make or explain your presentation?

/____/  English     /____/  French     /____/  Portuguese     /____/  Spanish

/____/  Other.  Please name:  _________________________________________

If Other, how will you provide for translation?




OURMedia 7, 11-15 Aug 2007, Accra, Ghana,  – Call for Proposals, p.2

Summary of proposal


Please summarize your proposal in no more than 250 words.  Some of the questions that you may wish to explore are offered below.


With reference to the sub-themes, relationships, emerging focal areas, globally critical challenges and issues that are of particular interest to OM7:

·     what issues have you been grappling with?

·     what is the context  (including, as may be relevant, social, political and economic) in which you have been carrying out your work?

·     what alternative communication responses have you been developing or proposing?

·     what new questions have arisen in the course of your work which you would wish to be part of the ongoing dialogue around building an alternative world?


Name of individual, group or organization making proposal


If proposal is being made by a group, name of contact person


Street address (physical location)


Post office mailing address










Nationality of person/s proposed to make presentation at OM7

[important for visa purposes]



Please tell us something about yourself/group/organization (maximum 100 words):



Date of submission:



IMPORTANT: Please complete the Note on Funding below.





OURMedia will secure some funding to help defray the expenses of participants who could not otherwise attend OM7.  We encourage all participants to try to raise at least part of the funds, but if you will definitely not be able to attend OM7 unless OURMedia provides funding, please let us know.


Apart from travel expenses, which will of course differ according to the point of origin, we estimate that participation at OM7 will cost:

·  A minimum of USD 300 for registration (including lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments)

·  Lodging, breakfast and dinner at an average of USD 150 per day.


I can raise my own funding to cover my entire participation in OM7.

/____/             Yes            /____/  No

If you ticked "No", please continue.

I can raise my:

Registration cost

/____/             Yes            /____/  No

Airfare or other transportation cost

/____/             Yes            /____/  No

Lodging, breakfast and dinner cost

/____/             Yes            /____/  No


Monday, February 04, 2008

BBC News adopts new digital content management system

BBC News is to implement a new system to increase the speed with which digital content can be sent between its journalists and news desks.

The corporation will introduce the digital media distribution management suite, developed by US-based firm Signiant, to provide intranet, satellite or public internet delivery services between its international offices.

The system, which will be used from March, includes a function that collects and prioritises 'content received from the field', a press release from Signiant said, allowing the news team to 'prioritise stories and allocate bandwith accordingly.'

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Microsoft wants to purchase Yahoo

Microsoft has offered to buy the search engine company Yahoo for $44.6bn (£22.4bn) in cash and shares.

The offer, contained in a letter to Yahoo's board, is 62% above Yahoo's closing share price on Thursday.

Yahoo cut its revenue forecasts earlier this week and said it would have to spend an additional $300m this year trying to revive the company.

It has been struggling in recent years to compete with Google, which has also been a competitor to Microsoft.

In a conference call, Microsoft's Kevin Johnson said that the combination of the two companies would create an entity that could better compete with Google.

It is a shotgun marriage, but the person holding the shotgun is Google
Tim Weber, business editor, BBC News website

"Today the market [for online search and advertising] is increasingly dominated by one player," he said.

Chairman quit

Yahoo confirmed that it has received an unsolicited offer and said that its board would evaluate the proposal, "carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."

If Yahoo accepted the offer, competition authorities both in the US and the European Union would be likely to investigate the tie-up.

Yahoo chief executive, Jerry Yang, announced on Tuesday that he intended to lay off 1,000 staff as part of a restructuring plan.

Terry Semel, who stepped down as chief executive last June, also quit as non-executive chairman on Thursday.

Microsoft said that Yahoo shareholders could choose to receive either cash or shares.

Oct to Dec 2007 down 23%
July to Sept 2007 down 5%
April to June 2007 down 2%
Jan to March 2007 down 11%

Yahoo shares have fallen 46% since reaching a year-high of $34.08 in October. On Friday they closed almost 48% higher.

Microsoft closed 6.6% lower while Google shares fell 8.6%.

"Ultimately this corporate marriage was forced by the rise of Google, which has grown into a serious competitor for both Microsoft as a software company and Yahoo as an internet portal," said Tim Weber, business editor of the BBC News website.

"It is a shotgun marriage, but the person holding the shotgun is Google."

'Exorbitant premium'

According to its letter to Yahoo, Microsoft attempted to enter talks about a deal a year ago, but was rebuffed because Yahoo was confident about the "potential upside" presented by the reorganisation and operational activities that were being put in place at the time.

"A year has gone by, and the competitive situation has not improved," Microsoft's letter said.

But there has been some concern about the price that Microsoft is offering.

HAVE YOUR SAY This smacks of desperation from Microsoft who have consistently failed to achieve a meaningful online presence Matt, UK

"To me, the premium seems exorbitant, for what is a dwindling business," said Tim Smalls from the brokerage firm Execution LLC.

"I personally don't see how the synergies of Microsoft-Yahoo is going to take on Google."

Other analysts were more enthusiastic about the offer.

"It is a fantastic offer. It is game on," said Colin Gillis from Canaccord Adams.

"This consolidates the marketplace down to Google versus Microsoft. These two companies will be going head to head."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/02/01 22:41:15 GMT