SAN FRANCISCO -- Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens has picked up 10 million shares of
, following the lead of activist investor Carl Icahn.
that he knows Icahn well and is willing to get behind him.
Last week, Icahn bought 59 million shares of Yahoo! and named 10 candidates, including himself, to unseat the Internet giant's board at the company's annual shareholder meeting on July 3.
Icahn has been disenchanted with Yahoo! and the way it handled a potential merger deal with
, which closed the door on negotiations on May 3 when the two sides couldn't agree on price.
On Sunday, Microsoft announced that it was discussing an alternative to the merger with Yahoo!, but remained vague on the details.
reported Monday, however, that the transaction may involve Microsoft buying Yahoo!'s search business, then acquiring a stake of Yahoo! following a sale of the Internet company's Asian assets.
Another possible option would be Yahoo! outsourcing its ads to Microsoft, a move that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company had been considering with
Yahoo! and Google had been close to reaching a deal, but it's unclear where that now stands. Google declined to comment and Yahoo! representatives could not be reached by phone.
Microsoft has been trying to head off a partnership between the two search providers, claiming that it would raise serious anti-trust issues. It would also undermine Microsoft's attempt to gain ground over Google, which is far ahead of all its competitors in the search business.
Shares of Yahoo! were down 0.9%, or 25 cents, to $27.43 in recent trading. Shares of Microsoft were down 2.1%, or 61 cents, to $28.85. And shares of Google were up 0.5%, or $2.96, to $580.48.