Months after announcing its sale and the ensuing speculation over buyers, Yahoo will reportedly sit down and talk about the possibility of selling a minority stake in its company to one of various bidders. Yahoo's board of directors had set a Monday deadline for bids and is reportedly weighing them on Tuesday. At this point, there are two possible paths for the ailing tech old-timer, it will either sell up to 20 percent of itself to an investor consortium, or give the whole thing up to one lucky bidder. While the actual sale won't take place anytime soon, Yahoo's moving closer to a game-plan, that looks more like the former than the latter option.
After speculation of a Microsoft-Yahoo alliance for perhaps the clunkiest tech merger possible, it looks like Microsoft will indeed submit a bid, but not for a full stake in the company. After signing a non-disclosure act last week, as we noted, this week Microsoft put in a bid, report DealBook's Michael De La Merced and Evelyn Rusli. But it's not exactly the coming-together of tech-giants of yesteryear some imagined; Microsoft will help finance Silver Lake's consortium for a minority 20 percent stake in the company. That groups would also possibly include venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, making the deal more interesting because venture capital Marc Andreeseen, friend of Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang might have a stake in the company, points out All Things D's Kara Swisher. This group joins other firms KKR and TPG, who also submitted bids by yesterday's apparent deadline for these 20 percent stakes. If these were to go through, taking on debt, Yahoo would finance its stock buyback. Yahoo might prefer this arrangement to selling the entire company to one bigger deal because it could then avoid putting the whole deal up to a shareholder vote, notes Reuters's Nadia Damouni. "Yahoo has to decide whether they need to cram it down shareholders' throats," her source told her.
But even though Yahoo is leaning toward selling a portion of the company -- at least that's what De La Merced and Rusli speculate -- there are still some talks of one bidder swooping in to buy the whole company. Breaking away from the minority bidders, Thomas H. Lee Partners has an all-in offer in the works, reports Damouni. The firm, which owns other media assets Nielsen, Clear Channel and Univision, joins Chinese e-commerce company the Alibaba Group, who is also reportedly wants to nab the entire company. Yahoo currently owns 43 percent of the Chinese company, and CEO Jack Ma has already expressed interest in buying back those shares. Yahoo has not yet accepted proposals for these bigger, less-likely deals, but is expected to discuss the possibility of these smaller investments today, reports Damouni.