A year after rejecting the idea out of hand, Yahoo’s board of directors is now open to the idea of a buyout under the right conditions, according to Kara Swisher at AllThingsD.Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock and cofounder Jerry Yang have indicated they’d listen to a takeover offer from a “credible” player like former News Corp. President and COO Peter Chernin.
The most likely scenario: Chernin joins up with deep-pocketed investors like Microsoft and Providence Capital to purchase enough Yahoo shares to take control of the company. Chernin would then be installed as chairman and perhaps CEO, or he might pick a different CEO — something that Yahoo is also reportedly considering on its own.
If Microsoft is involved, it might merge its online properties like MSN with Yahoo — something the company has been considering on and off for several years now — and renegotiate the terms of their search deal.
The only drawback: Chernin might not be interested. Although he has been an increasingly active angel investor in companies like Flipboard and just got a seat on Pandora’s board, he’s also running a successful Hollywood production company, and may not want the headache of trying to turn Yahoo around.
Whether this scenario plays out or not, it’s notable that Yahoo is considering drastic measures. The company’s stock is down nearly 50% over the last five years, and institutional shareholders are grumbling that Carol Bartz and the Microsoft search deal haven’t done enough to turn it around.