Yahoo!

(YHOO)

CEO Jerry Yang is about to learn a lesson in timing.

After four wasted months vainly hoping that antitrust regulators would let Yahoo! team with

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

in an online search ad deal, Yang is back in talks with

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

.

So we're back where we were in April -- with one big difference: Yahoo! shares are now available for half the price.

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Yahoo! traded as high as $28.67 back when Microsoft was pursuing Yahoo! earlier in the year and is now at $14.46, even after a bump today on the news that Yang is ready to

talk with Microsoft

again.

The last time I wrote about Yahoo! I made the point that

Microsoft's bid

set the bogey for the amount of shareholder value Yang & Co. need to create if they insist on going it alone. Since Microsoft had offered to pay $33 a share, Yahoo! investors should expect no less.

They'll be lucky to get that now.