It's true that if you head out to your local multiplex today, you can catch the debut of the full-length animated film Horton Hears a Who. But despite what the title may suggest, this isn't a movie review, folks.
The Dr. Seuss classic details the travails of Whoville, a tiny community on a speck of dust that is doomed to perish unless Horton -- a lumbering elephant who is the only one able to hear the Whoville cries -- can convince everyone else of its existence.
If the tale feels familiar, that's because you're currently seeing it play out in real life between Microsoft
Yahoo! is Whoville, a dot-com has-been rendered practically silent in recent years as it battles the confident Google
No, Microsoft is Horton because it's trying to defend its extravagant bid on a speck that has been deemed infinitesimal by Mr. Market compared to fast-growing search-engine rock stars like Google and Baidu.com
The Dr. Seuss story has a happy ending: Horton is able to persuade the Whos of Whoville to come together in a last-ditch effort to be heard and recognized by the masses. The boardroom version of the story seemed doomed to a darker fate, with the Yahoos of Yahooville ignorant as to their worth in the marketplace and the urgency of being rescued.
Things may be changing.
Marketwatch claims that Yahoo! and Microsoft met earlier this week, according to an unnamed "person familiar with the situation." The two companies obviously didn't come to an agreement, but at least it's refreshing to see the two giants humble enough to try to come to a peaceful resolution.
Fear probably got the best of Yahoo!'s ego. It's been holding out for better offers, but they don't appear to be coming. Rumored bidders like News Corp.
However, the real reason why the Yahoos of Yahooville may be quivering in their booties is that industry observers are suggesting that Microsoft may lower its bid if Yahoo!'s quarterly report next month disappoints.
So should Yahoo! investors see their company's move as a show of goodwill toward a generous buyout offer, or as an admission that April's report is going to be a stinker? Either way, Whoville seems suddenly open to Horton's lifesaving trunk.
Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. Baidu.com is a pick in the Rule Breakers newsletter service. Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Don't be a Grinch! A 30-day trial subscription is waiting to help you see which newsletter is right for you.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of Yahoo! and Microsoft, but not of bad weddings. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
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