Google's Schmidt Turns To Pal Quattrone For Help With Microhoo - InformationWeek

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4/11/2008
09:30 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Google's Schmidt Turns To Pal Quattrone For Help With Microhoo

As Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo all wrestle with Microsoft's attempt to buy Yahoo, Google decided it needed some outside counsel. Google CEO Eric Schmidt chose none other than Frank Quattrone, who was cleared

As Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo all wrestle with Microsoft's attempt to buy Yahoo, Google decided it needed some outside counsel. Google CEO Eric Schmidt chose none other than Frank Quattrone, who was cleared of obstruction of justice charges last year, to whisper sweet hostile take-over nothings into his ear.For the last two-plus months, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and others have been in a slow dance as everyone tries to get what they want out of the MicroHoo deal. Google wants to keep the two firms apart. Microsoft wants to acquire Yahoo. Poor Yahoo just wants to be left alone, it likes dancing by itself. In the last few days, things have become more interesting, with AOL, and News Corp. joining the dance. Fivesomes rarely work out, though. Someone is going to come away from this dance empty-handed and disappointed.

If Eric Schmidt has anything to do with it, it ain't gonna be Google.

The New York Times is reporting that Schmidt has turned to his old crony, Quattrone, for help. He has hired Quattrone's new law firm, the Qatalyst Group, to provide legal counsel and help it strategize the movements of this dance. Schmidt and Quattrone have worked together in the past. Quattrone was one of the first investment bankers to consult with Google when it was but a lowly startup in the late 1990s. Further, Schmidt was party to the creation of Quattrone's new firm.

Quattrone, of course, was beset by the U.S. legal system for years on obstruction of justice charges. After two trials, Uncle Sam gave up on one of the charges, and he was cleared of another conviction when the presiding judge misinformed the jury about how to interpret the law. Technically, he's not a criminal. Are his hands clean? Who is to say.

Whatever happened in Quattrone's past, he's obviously looking to recapture the former glory of a life lived in the business spotlight. As the impact of this acquisition will reverberate around the Internet for years to come, any role he might play is sure to affect us all.

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