Yahoo Inc.’s proposed sale has been a long, drawn out affair, but fresh funds from Microsoft may help to accelerate things.
According to a report in Re/Code, Microsoft executives are said to be meeting with a number of private equity firms to discuss a possible takeover of the ailing former Internet giant. Re/Code’s Kara Swisher says Microsoft is willing to cough up as much as a billion dollars to help finance any deal.
Swisher adds that many potential buyers don’t believe Yahoo is all that serious about the sale, as they think CEO Marissa Mayer still believes she can turn around the struggling company.
However, she may not have much time left to do so, as Swisher’s report came out just hours after major news outlets reported that the activist investor Starboard Value LP has nominated new directors to Yahoo’s board in an effort to shake things up and potentially even oust Mayer. Starboard, which has been pushing for changes at Yahoo since 2014 and owns about 1.7 percent of the company, said it would nominate nine candidates for the board, Reuters reported.
Yahoo said in a statement it will review Starboard’s nominees and respond in due course.
However, Starboard’s bid may be overtaken by Microsoft’s renewed interest. Leading negotiations on behalf of the Redmond giant is Peggy Johnson, who has handled some of Microsoft’s biggest acquisitions since joining the firm in August 2014. Re/Code says that any deal with Microsoft would likely ensure Yahoo remains a strong brand, with improved partnership deals.
Yahoo’s current market cap rounds out at around $32.5 billion, but the vast majority of that value is tied to its share in Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., the Chinese e-commerce firm that’s likely to be spun off ahead of any deal. When that happens, Yahoo’s market cap falls to somewhere between $6 billion and $8 billion, and Microsoft would fund the takeover to the tune of $1 billion.
Microsoft previously showed an interest in acquiring Yahoo way back in 2008, when it made an unsolicited bid of around $44.6 billion.