CEO Stockwatch

A big deal
Occasionally, there comes a potential corporate deal that has the power to enthral, and which promises to generate swathes of media attention. The factors affecting how much a particular deal might resonate with the press may vary to a degree, but the old stalwarts in this respect include the effect the deal might have on the wider industry and the competitive landscape, as well as the monetary value of the deal (the bigger the better, of course, and everybody likes a record-breaker). Another more subtle facet is the role of the CEO. If the CEO is well-known enough, with a clearly recognisable personality and profile, it can be that a company’s deal-making is actually interpreted through this CEO profile; that any deal is used almost as a barometer of not only how the CEO is performing, but also how he/she, as one individual within a large corporation, has managed (or not) to put their own personal stamp on that company. During the period under review (January to April 2008), one corporate deal did indeed have all such factors, and was therefore guaranteed to occupy many a column inch. Microsoft’s long-running hostile bid for Yahoo! generated coverage all over the world. The proposed 45 billion dollar deal, which appears now to have fallen through, had the potential to almost redefine the industry: Microsoft, seemingly very worried about Google having a monopoly position in terms of internet advertising, wanted to get in on the act. The internet savvy that Microsoft could have gained from Yahoo! was highly significant, and this would come at a time when the internet advertising industry is rocketing. In essence, the scene would be set for something of a display advertising revolution.