Verizon Communications is the leading suitor for Yahoo! Inc. after a number of bidders decided not to make an offer for the struggling Web company, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Time Inc., Alphabet and IAC/InterActiveCorp have dropped out, while Advent International is among the buyout firms looking at making a bid, the Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Bloomberg News has previously reported that AT&T, Comcast and Microsoft decided against offers.
Verizon and its AOL unit are working with at least three financial advisers on a Yahoo bid that would include its stake in Yahoo Japan Corp., Bloomberg News reported earlier. Verizon, which has a market value of more than $200 billion, could give the stake in the Japan affiliate to its shareholders or sell it, one of the people said. The phone company would replace Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer with Tim Armstrong and Marni Walden, who would run a combined Yahoo and AOL, according to two people.
Yahoo — a pioneer of the Internet in the 1990s — said earlier this year that it would explore strategic alternatives, including selling its main Internet operations, after scrapping a longtime plan to spin off assets including its stake in Alibaba Group Holding. The company’s stock has declined about 20% in the past 12 months as it faces growing investor scrutiny amid questions about Mayer’s leadership and ability to fuel healthy sales growth.
Activist investor Starboard Value, a longtime Yahoo critic, said in March it was fed up with the company’s leadership and called for the board to be completely replaced.
Ahead of Monday’s deadline for preliminary bids, only a small handful of firms moved ahead with offers, the Journal reported. Private equity funds Bain and TPG are still planning to make a run at the business while KKR expressed interest, according to the newspaper. Daily Mail & General Trust is still in talks with private equity firms to become partners on the bid, the paper said.
— Bloomberg News