How many billionaires does it take to work on the world's biggest tech deal? So far, six.
The Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people )-Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people ) deal was about the No. 2 and 3 players in search advertising combining forces to turn up the heat on Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ). But four months after the Redmond software giant launched its unsolicited bid for the Internet portal, the deal saga has turned into a kind of reality show, Battle of the Billionaires, as Steve Ballmer, Jerry Yang, Eric Schmidt, Rupert Murdoch, Carl Icahn and Mark Cuban duke it out over the fates of Yahoo! and Microsoft--and try to enrich themselves in the process. Using data from 2007 proxy statements, here's what each billionaire has gained or lost so far.
Tally So Far: Down $1 billion
Microsoft's bombastic chief executive lost the battle to acquire Yahoo!--for now--but at least he didn't have to shell out $47 billion for the struggling Web portal. During his three-month quest for Yahoo!, however, Microsoft's shares fell 10%. Ballmer owns 400 million Microsoft shares, so the value of his holdings fell from $13 billion to just under $12 billion during that period. Forbes estimated that Ballmer's total net worth in 2007 was $15 billion.
Tally So Far: Down $1.7 billion
Yahoo!'s chief executive lost out big time--for now--by rejecting Ballmer's last offer of $33 per share (Ballmer offered $31 per share to Yahoo! on Jan. 31). Yang--who owns slightly more than 54 million shares of Yahoo! in his name and through a family partnership--would have collected $1.7 billion in a sale to Microsoft. Forbes estimated that Yang's total net worth last year was $2.3 billion.
Tally So Far: Up $271 million during the deal.
Google's chief executive played the role of the spoiler in the deal. The search king's potential advertising deal with Yahoo! was the straw that broke Microsoft's back. Ballmer said a partnership in which Yahoo! outsources its search advertising to Google would make it nearly impossible to acquire Yahoo!. The two Internet giants are still trying to work out a deal. Schmidt's 9.5 million Google shares traded all over the map, dipping as low as $413.62, from the day Microsoft made its bid for Yahoo! to May 3, when Microsoft called it quits. Lucky for Schmidt, Google posted outstanding first quarter results, which boosted the stock to nearly $600. During the Microsoft-Yahoo! standoff, Schmidt's Google shares gained $271 million. Forbes estimated that Schmidt's net worth last year was $6.6 billion.
Tally So Far: Hard to count
The News Corp. (nyse: NWS - news - people ) chief has played both sides of the fence in the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal saga. At first, the media mogul was willing to help Yahoo! remain an independent company by giving it News Corp.'s MySpace social network. In exchange, News Corp. would take a stake in Yahoo!. Then, Murdoch had a change of heart and switched sides. He reportedly had conversations with Ballmer about helping Microsoft snap up Yahoo!.
Tally So Far: Possibility of a $400 million
The corporate raider extraordinaire is trying to get Yahoo! and Microsoft back to the negotiating table to work out a deal by trying to unseat Yahoo!'s board members. On May 15, he floated a proxy board slate that included himself, Mark Cuban and Frank Biondi. Icahn's goal, of course, is to cash out of Yahoo!'s stock with a profit. Icahn paid about $26 a share for his 59 million Yahoo! shares. If, for instance, he could get Microsoft to pay its last bid for Yahoo!--$33 a share--Icahn could walk away with a cool $400 million for his trouble. Forbes estimated that Icahn's net worth was $14 billion last year.
Tally So Far: No money on the table--yet
Icahn tapped Cuban, an enormously successful entrepreneur, to be on his proxy Yahoo! board. Cuban's already made tons of money from Yahoo!--he sold his company, Broadcast.com, to the Internet portal in 1999 for $5.7 billion. If Cuban gets nominated to Yahoo! board at the company's July 3 annual meeting, don't expect him to stick around: Cuban and the rest of the proxy board are only there to overthrow the current members and help Microsoft finally acquire Yahoo!.