Yahoo (YHOO, $13.92, up $0.57) was back in the news again on Wednesday. The stock had a strong day despite the fact that Google (GOOG, $342.24, down $24.70) backed out of its advertising outsourcing agreement with the company. At one point, Yahoo traded as high as $14.84.
There were many on Wall Street who had speculated this deal would fall through mainly because Google didn’t want to have to deal with the anti-trust issues. That was loud and clear when Google’s legal rep had this to say:
“We’re of course disappointed that this deal won’t be moving ahead but we’re not going to let the prospect of a lengthy legal battle distract us from our core mission. That would be like trying to drive down the road of innovation with the parking brake on.”
Of course the bulls and bears immediately began to battle as bulls are hoping for another bid from Microsoft (MSFT, $22.08, down $1.45) while the bears are saying this is the end for Yahoo. What? You think it’s a coincidence that Yahoo’s CEO Jerry Yang had this to say after the closing bell: “To this day, I believe the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo,” ..
Yeah, that dude is drowning and begging Microsoft for a life jacket. Yahoo had an easy $33 a share, or nearly $48 billion in its back pocket when Microsoft was really wanting to buy the company and Yang held out for a few dollars more a share. It’s amazing sometimes how egos can get in the way of doing what is right for a company. This is a clear example of why America needs more shareholder rights. Afterall, you are not just buying stock of a company, you own part of the company when you buy stock. Shareholders could have gotten $33 a share a few months ago, now they will be lucky to get $20. It is what it is but Yahoo blew its chance of doing what was right for its shareholders.
The January 17.50 calls (YHQAW, $1.25, up $0.35) were one the plays we had in our Lottery portfolio. These calls were profiled around the same price that they are trading at now but did trade as high as $1.40. The November 15 calls (YHQKC, $1.30, up $0.80) were certainly a huge winner as they advanced 150+%. They traded as high as $1.38.
Yahoo’s rally was driven, in part, by rumors that Yahoo and Microsoft are close to an agreement of $17 to $19 a share — speculation that both companies denied. I had mentioned that companies are getting “cheap” again that would could see some M&A (merger and acquisition) activity. Chesapeake Energy (CHK, $24.83, up $1.88) and Yahoo are making the rounds and there is even fodder that Disney (DIS, $24.23, down $1.79) should buy Electronic Arts (ERTS, $22.37, down $1.03). M&A is coming and when it does it could be fast and furious.
I think Microsoft will make another run at Yahoo and I would expect it to be sooner rather than later. Microsoft still wants Yahoo but is trying to get it as cheap as it can. Microsoft is a cash cow and it needs Yahoo’s search engine and huge audience if it ever wants to mount any serious threat to Google.
The November options are a big risk as time would be working against you waiting for this marriage to happen. The contracts expire in 15 days and I don’t think anything will get done that quick. It could but that is why we went out to the January options from the get-go. If Yahoo gets a minimum $20 bid then the January 17.50 calls would be worth at least $2.50 or a double from current levels if Microsoft comes in with that kind of bid.
Maybe by Christmas a deal gets done but I have been telling you the $33 bid from Microsoft six-months ago would continue to haunt Yahoo shareholders once Yang blew it.
Keep holding the Yahoo call options and remember that they are a lottery play. You could take the profits you have now but it would be like winning $5 on a $5 lottery ticket. We are at least trying to double our money.