Microsoft Corp. has yet to convince Yahoo Inc. to agree to a friendly takeover, but the software company is already hiring lobbyists to help it convince regulators to let the deal hostile if it has to be go through.
Software company Microsoft Corp., bracing for a regulatory squabble in its takeover bid, recently hired Bryan Cave Strategies LLC to lobby the federal government on the proposed multibillion-dollar deal.
The firm disclosed the information on a registration form filed online Tuesday by the Senate's public records office.
Microsoft announced the unsolicited offer of $31 per share, or more than $40 billion, in February for slumping Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo, which rejected the initial bid and is seeking alternatives. Options include an experimental advertising alliance with Google Inc. that could lead to a long-term partnership and, according to published reports, a combination with online operations of Time Warner Inc.'s AOL.
Yahoo has not yet disclosed whether it's hired outside consultants on the bid. But Google, which also opposes the deal, recently tapped Franklin Square Group LLC, run by two top Democratic lobbyists, to help with competition issues in the Internet industry, according to a disclosure form.
A message to one of the lobbyists was not returned while Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich said the company does not comment on its lobbying activities.
Bryan Cave's president, Broderick Johnson, is registered to lobby for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft. A veteran Capitol Hill staffer, he also served in the White House legislative affairs office from 1998 to 2000. Until 2007, he was vice president for congressional affairs for AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp.
Johnson, who is an attorney, has developed deep relationships with House and Senate Democratic leaders and several committee chairmen, including those in the House and Senate Judiciary committees, according to his profile on the firm's Web site. Both judiciary committees will likely examine antitrust issues related to the Microsoft deal.
A message left for Johnson were not returned.
Waldo McMillan, who served as business affairs and strategic outreach counsel to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., from 2004 to 2007, is also listed to lobby for the company.
Microsoft spokeswoman Ginny Terzano declined to comment on what the firm will specifically lobby on and whether the company plans to hire other firms to help lift the deal over regulatory hurdles.
She wrote in an e-mail the company does not comment on outside consultants, but added Microsoft has a responsibility to engage with policymakers on issues that impact our products, customers shareholders and the industry overall.
Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.