The speculation about who might purchase Yahoo’s struggling internet business has already begun, following a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday that the company’s board would consider a sale, among other strategic options, during meetings this week.
The obvious candidates to purchase Yahoo’s internet business include telecommunications and media companies as well as private equity firms.
Verizon Wireless, which acquired AOL for $4.4 billion in June, and IAC Interactive, the online services holding company, would both “likely explore a purchase,” the Wall Street Journal said in a follow-up report on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.
News Corp, which owns the WSJ, and Time Inc, would also consider acquiring pieces of Yahoo, should they become available, the WSJ noted.
While speculating, we’d add Comcast, which recently invested in Vox and Buzzfeed, and Disney, which has explored investments in Buzzfeed and Vice, according to reports.
This is all highly speculative at this point. None of these companies appear to be in talks with Yahoo about a potential deal. Yahoo’s internet business is not even officially on the auction block yet.
The stock market currently values Yahoo’s core internet business at less than zero, with all of the value assigned to its Asian assets such as its 15% stake in Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group.
But several analysts have recently floated their own estimtes for what core Yahoo is worth.
- Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser values core Yahoo at $1.9 billion, not including the $5.8 billion in cash on its balance sheet.
- Cowen’s John Blackledge pegs the value of Yahoo’s search and display advertising business at $3.84 billion.
- And SunTrust analyst Robert Peck reckons a sale of core Yahoo could net $6 billion to $8 billion in net proceeds.
A concensus on a potential sales price will likely firm up and become more clear if Yahoo moves forward, and as potential bidders decide which parts of core Yahoo are most useful to their particular needs.