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Tech journos: Yahoo isn’t seeking search deal with Facebook

By Laurie Bennett

November 19, 2012 at 9:49am

We were intrigued by a Twitter exchange Sunday between two of the most respected tech journalists out there.

Both wrote stories questioning a piece in the Telegraph, which reported that Yahoo and Facebook were working toward a partnership for search.

Kara Swisher put it plainly: “Yahoo and Facebook are not currently in talks about forming a search alliance or building a search engine together.”

Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineLand.com, assembled a long list of reasons why the story was wrong.

The Telegraph story credited unnamed sources.

On Twitter, @dannysullivan asked: “Seriously, the Telegraph article on Yahoo the Kingmaker is laughable. What Yahoo board member fed all this stuff out?”

Then @karaswisher replied, “you know which board member it was.”

Neither named names, but Swisher did note that “a Facebook search tie-up rumor would certainly do wonders for a Yahoo stock pop tomorrow for all the hedge funds now piling in the Silicon Valley Internet giant.”

So which outside director has the biggest stake in Yahoo?

Daniel Loeb, CEO of Third Point LLC.

In a filing last week, Third Point reported owning more than 73 million shares, a stake worth $1.3 billion.

It’s not the only hedge fund showing an interest in the company.

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital bought more than 5 million shares last quarter. Greenlight bought and sold stakes in Yahoo twice in the last year and a half.

Others reporting major holdings include Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management, Boaz Weinstein’s Saba Capital Management, Capital Group Companies and TIAA-CREF.

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