Microsoft is working with a Canadian firm to put together a bid to purchase Yahoo, reports the Wall Street Journal. The other party, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, is working with private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners to put together the deal.
While preparations for a bid proposal are being made, this does not necessarily mean Microsoft and the CPP Investment Board will be the only bidders attempting to purchase the lumbering Internet giant. As WSJ reports, “at least nine” private-equity firms are analyzing Yahoo’s business to decide how to proceed with a bid. In the Microsoft-CPP Investment Board partnership, Microsoft would reportedly put up “several billion dollars,” while additional funding would come from banks.
This is the second time in recent weeks that we’ve heard about a potential Microsoft buyout of Yahoo; Reuters reported the same thing early this month. In fact, if the rumors are true, this would not even be the first time Microsoft tried to buy Yahoo. In 2008, Yahoo shot down a $44.6 billion bid by Microsoft to take over the company. Since that time, Yahoo’s shares have dwindled 44 percent.
At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this week, moderator John Battelle asked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer whether he was “glad” he his company didn’t buy Yahoo in 2008.
“You know, times change. When you ask any CEO [a question like that] after the market has fallen apart, it’s ‘hallelujah,” said Ballmer. He later added: “Sometimes, you’re lucky.”
Yahoo currently reaches about 700 million people a month through its various web properties. According to some estimates, Yahoo’s current valuation, if bought out, is somewhere around $20 billion.
Despite this chatter of a buyout – by Microsoft or anyone else – Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said this week that putting the company up for sale is not inevitable.
“The intent going in is not to put ourselves for sale,” Yang said at the AsiaD conference. “The intent is to look at all the options.”