Roundup: Who’s interested in bidding on Yahoo?

yahoo-for-saleYahoo’s future hangs in the balance, as the company attempts to figure out what it does, what it’s going to do, and who is going to be its CEO. Now add to the mix takeover rumors, and we’re imaging some pretty long nights for the Yahoo board. The company is valued at about $20 billion on the public marketing, which is a significant investment but far below what Yahoo was formerly worth. Here are the players speculated to be weighing an acquisition–of either its sum or its parts.

Alibaba Group

There are some rumors that Alibaba and Renren are also interested in scooping up the company. Yahoo might have reached a somewhat discouraging status here but it’s a major player in Asia. If Alibaba were to takeover the company, it were be a merger of sorts, and one that would seriously transform Yahoo’s position and business. 

Andreessen Horowitz and Silver Lake

Bloomberg reports that insiders say Silver Light is considering bidding on Yahoo, and would work with venture firm Andreessen Horowitz on the deal. The private equity firm is best known for buyouts in the tech industry, and in this case would split Yahoo up and sell its Asian assets off before finding more stable ground for its core business.

Trouble is, those Asian assets, most notably Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, are what account for the market share Yahoo has. Selling them off might not be a popular decision within the company. But this type of enterprise pruning would make Yahoo smaller, cleaner, and easier to buy–a much more attractive option for interested bidders.

These two firms recently partnered to scoop up Skype, which it then turned over to Microsoft for a considerable return on investment. The same sort of setup could be in the works for Yahoo. There’s also the possibility that after scraping off its Asian assets, a Yahoo turnaround could be in the mix–albeit after a slew of firings, hirings, and board reconfigurations.


An inside source who “asked to remain anonymous because getting fired sucks” tells BusinessInsider that the Microsoft property MSN will count itself among the potential Yahoo buyers. But those Asian holdings, once again, are something of a hang-up. “Yahoo is a lot more interesting [than AOL]. If it comes into play, then at least their US media business is a pretty interesting asset. It’s complicated because of those Asian assets.”

If you remember, Microsoft was interested in buying Yahoo back in 2008. Yahoo passed on the approximately $45 billion offer, which it’s probably kicking itself for now. Spurning Microsoft’s bid also led to the ousting of then CEO and co-founder Jerry Yang, which arguably began the downward spiral for the company. Now, Microsoft could pocket Yahoo for far, far less, which is always an attractive option.

While buying up your struggling competitor is a nice though, Microsoft doesn’t really need to spend the money on something that’s already giving them a good deal of business. The company partners with Yahoo to handle Web search–and share the ad revenue from this.

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