Tim Arango at the NY Post on Friday – Talks Cool Between Microsoft and eBay:
For several weeks Microsoft has been in discussions about a possible acquisition of online auctioneer eBay, The Post has learned.
According to multiple sources close to the matter, Microsoft has considered buying eBay and merging it with its MSN portal – a deal that would give MSN and eBay considerable clout to take on Google.
Sources indicate that the talks, while still active, have cooled somewhat in the last two weeks as executives considered antitrust issues.
OK so far, but:
It is unclear what the full impact of yesterday’s advertising and search alliance between Yahoo! and eBay will be for talks between MSN and eBay.
One source close to the matter suggested the Yahoo-eBay tie-up would not stop Microsoft from pursuing the online auctioneer.
Au contraire, I’d say that last week’s deal between eBay and Yahoo would seem to indicate that the chances aren’t too good for a Microsoft acquisition. If the talks were at a serious stage, wouldn’t the Yahoo deal have been delayed?
As for the utility of such an acquisition, it puzzles me what possible synergy would be provided by the combination of the two. It strikes me that Microsoft must really be desperate to acquire eyeballs for their nascent advertising business.