The banking collapse has seen Karl Marx’s stock rise higher than at any point since the 1960s and the old stogie-fancier was on the button again when he wrote that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”.

Certainly that quotation fits the bill given the mess that has been Yahoo ever since it refused Microsoft’s merger offer early this year, with Yahoo reportedly attempting to combine with the AOL basket case and then failing to pull off an-always unlikely-looking ads deal with Google. Now Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang is all but raising his skirts and exposing some thigh to catch the eye of his Microsoft oppo, Steve Ballmer.

"To this day the best thing for Microsoft to do is buy Yahoo," Yang said yesterday at a Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, according to aa BBC report . "I don't think that is a bad idea at all, at the right price whatever that price is. We're willing to sell the company."

So Yang wants to turn back the clock and invite Microsoft back to the table but, in case he hasn’t noticed, the world economy has changed a wee bit and Yahoo stock has gone backwards. The problem for Yang, and more importantly Yahoo shareholders, is that the generous price dangled by Microsoft back then might not be on offer now. If it weren’t costing Microsoft so much time to combat Google, you could forgive Ballmer for stroking his white cat and watching Yahoo sink further before tossing out chump-change to pick it up.

The moral here is clear and this time it’s Shakespeare, not Marx, who knew: “Sell when you can: you are not for all markets.”

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