Scattered rumors that various companies are bidding for part or all of Yahoo's struggling business surfaced on Thursday afternoon. The specifics of the possible bids are pretty unclear, but it looks like Yahoo is considering the option, despite having said they're not for sale. The Wall Street Journal reports, "Executives at private-equity firm Silver Lake have called Yahoo directors about a possible deal, but Yahoo hasn't met with the firm, one of the people familiar with the matter said. It wasn't clear precisely what Silver Lake proposed." Kara Swisher at AllThingsD lists some other potential suitors:
Among the possible players: Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, which is working with private equity firm Silver Lake, in a deal that also might include Russia’s DST Global and Yahoo’s Japanese partner Masa Son; former News Corp. exec Peter Chernin, who is partnered with Providence Equity Partners; and the possibility that Yahoo’s Chinese partner, Alibaba Group, might consider entering the fray in what could be a reverse merger of sorts.
The "Andreessen" in Andreessen Horowitz is none other than Marc Andreessen, the Silicon Valley veteran that gave us Netscape almost two decades ago. There's a sort of kneejerk irony to the idea of a guy connected to a dead internet brand thinking about buying a dying internet brand, but experts are incredibly optimistic about the idea. Henry Blodget argues:
Andreessen Horowitz would be able to attract the top tech and digital talent that is necessary to revitalize Yahoo. Its partners (Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, Jeff Jordan) have the strategic, turnaround, and operational experience necessary to make the tough decisions, and they have the reputational strength and communications skills necessary to lead the company through this transformation. And the firm has the connections and expertise necessary to get to anyone and make anything happen.
As we've argued before, now would be a great time to buy Yahoo and given Andreessen Horowitz's highly respected opinion in Silicon Valley, the Netscape founder could be the seasoned but forward-thinking savior the company needs.