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Yahoo costs: The slide Microsoft didn't want you to see

Don't you hate when a rogue PowerPoint slide slips into your deck? Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shares your pain, after a slide including information not meant for public disclosure slipped into a deck he was slated to present to Wall Street analysts attending Microsoft's Financial Analyst Meeting (FAM) on July 30.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

Don't you hate when a rogue PowerPoint slide slips into your deck? Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shares your pain, after a slide including information not meant for public disclosure slipped into a deck he was slated to present to Wall Street analysts attending Microsoft's Financial Analyst Meeting (FAM) on July 30.

Ballmer never ended up showing the slide, entitled "Yahoo Deal Overview," during his FAM kick-off presentation. But Seattle Times reporter Brier Dudley grabbed it,

The slide notes that Microsoft is expecting to lose $300 million in the first two years of the deal, then start earning a "decent return," explained as "$400 million steady-state."

There is a bunch of detailed information on the slide about specific costs Microsoft is expecting to incur which is marked as "context -- not for disclosure." Next to that column is the abbreviated, cleaned-up (and far less-specific) information that Microsoft is acknowledging publicly.

The items spelled out as "transition costs" include

* Retention costs (pre- and post-close): $90 million * R&D paid search: $170 million * GFS (Global Foundation Services)/COGs (Cost of Goods Sold): $145 million * Sign-on: $150 million * Algo(rithm) R&D: $70 million * Advertiser migration: $50 million

Ballmer and Online Services President Qi Lu both emphasized during their talks today that the Microsoft-Yahoo search partnership was a win-win for Microsoft and Yahoo.  Ballmer spent much of his hour-and-a-half talk going over the Yahoo deal, claiming that "nobody gets it."

Microsoft execs have been intentionally vague about exactly how much the Yahoo deal would cost Microsoft in the short and longer term. But during his remarks at FAM, Ballmer told attendees that Microsoft didn't expect to make a lot of money from the deal in the short term and that they should expect Microsoft to absorb "a few hundred million" in transition costs." Ballmer said Yahoo got a great deal and is claiming that the deal will result in 70 percent profit expansion for Microsoft's new partner -- in spite of the fact that the market has been less-than-enthusiastic.

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