If it's Tuesday, there must be another Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) buyout rumor.
The Wall Street Journal's online edition is reporting that Jonathan Miller -- former head of Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL -- is trying to raise as much as $30 billion to make a play for Yahoo!.
The deal would value Yahoo! at $20 to $22 a share, but don't run off and start spending those Yahoo! lottery tickets just yet. WSJ.com is leaning on unnamed sources "familiar with the matter," and even if they are accurate, Miller still has a lot of money to raise in a very tight-fisted market.
For all we know, this may be Miller's plot to bubble up to the top of the short list of potential Yahoo! CEO candidates. After all, even if he comes up empty in the mother of all panhandling feats, he will have had enough media time to share his vision for Yahoo!. Anything other than "stay the course" will be applause-worthy.
Even if Yahoo! is skeptical of Miller's intentions, it needs to play along. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is watching and probably thought that no one would step up to the suitor porch after its original January offer to buy Yahoo! at $31 a share was rebuffed. If Yahoo! wants to get Mr. Softy back to the negotiating table, nothing gets the jealousy mojo flowing like seeing other people there.
Microsoft hates Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), but does it really want to see a reinvigorated Yahoo!? It won't be a matter of laughing from the sidelines as Big G and the Yahooligans take whacks at each other. That would make Microsoft's MSN.com and Live.com nearly irrelevant. If the software giant wants to play more than a bit part in this after-school special, it can't settle for being a distant third. A hookup with Facebook would be pricey. A combination with News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS) Fox Interactive would be complicated.
True or not -- plausible or not -- this dot-com drama-dy just got more interesting.
The world according to Microsoft:
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that Microsoft and Yahoo! will hook up before the end credits roll. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He 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.