The guessing game about potential Yahoo bidders is now in full-swing, following the company’s announcement Wednesday that it’s open to consider any “qualified strategic proposals.”
Big media and communications companies, as well as private equity firms, are the primary suspects. Verizon, AT&T, News Corp, Disney and Comcast have all surfaced as potential bidders in previous reports.
And we’ll likely get more leaked details about suitors and proposals in the coming weeks.
But it looks like News Corp, which was previously mentioned in several media reports, can be crossed off the list. The media giant, which owns the Dow Jones news service and the New York Post, has no interest in Yahoo, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Verizon has remained silent so far, despite its CEO hinting at his interest in a possible deal. At Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in December,
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam
said if “it turned out that parts of it, or all of it were for sale, we’d look at it like anything in the digital media area at this point, because it’s so hot.”
And Jim Coulter, the CEO of private equity firm TPG, was cagey when asked about Yahoo by Bloomberg’s Emily Chang earlier today.
TPG Co-CEO Jim Coulter told me this today re: their reported interest in Yahoo pic.twitter.com/7Q41PToWq6
— Emily Chang (@emilychangtv) February 3, 2016
According to a note by RBC Capital Markets, the list of buyers could get much longer if Yahoo decided to break up its core business into smaller pieces, since the deal size would get much smaller.
“Given our base case does not value any individual display asset over $700M, a much wider range of companies can be bidders for YHOO’s individual properties,” RBC’s note said.
But that may not be a choice because splitting up Yahoo’s core would make it too complicated, and not command the same type of multiple Yahoo wants out of the deal.
“Most likely the whole core [will be sold] because it’s too hard to split out the various verticals,” SunTrust analyst Robert Peck told us last month.
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