Is Microsoft in the Yahoo bidding hunt? – USA TODAY
Private equity executives approached Microsoft to gauge the communications and computing giant’sÂ financial interest as Yahoo auctions its core businesses, Reuters reported Saturday.
Microsoft’s potential involvement as a potential financial backer of aÂ deal isÂ aimed at preserving its longstanding search and advertising agreements with Yahoo, Reuters said.
Peggy Johnson, head of Microsoft’s partnerships and acquisitions strategy, is part of the YahooÂ discussions with private equity firms, according to an earlier report byÂ tech news and analysis site Re/code. Yahoo is seeking $10 billion for its core businesses, the report said.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to an email Sunday seeking comment. The Redmond, Wash.-based company mounted a previous Yahoo purchase effort led byÂ former chief executiveÂ Steve Ballmer, but scrapped thatÂ plan in 2008.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo’sÂ auction planÂ potentially includes the company’s advertising, search technology, Yahoo Sports and Tumblr blogging platform. Although Yahoo was an early leaderÂ in Internet search, it has struggled to compete as rivals Google and Facebook captured major shares inÂ its online and mobile markets.
Yahoo announced the auction plan in December, after abandoning an effort to spin off its estimated $30 billion-plus stake in Chinese online marketplace company AlibabaÂ (BABA). The cancellation was reportedly sparked byÂ concerns that an eventual sale could trigger a heftyÂ U.S. tax bill.
Some investors, including Starboard Value, a New York-based hedge fund that holds a 1.7% Yahoo stake,Â have complained that the Internet company has moved too slowly to revamp its business model and generate new revenue.
Starboard on Thursday announcedÂ an effort to oust Yahoo’s board of directors â including CEO Marissa MayerÂ âÂ in a potential proxy battle at the Internet company’s annual shareholders meetingÂ later this year. Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith said telecom giant VerizonÂ Communications (VZ)Â recently said it had yet to receive information from Yahoo in response to Verizon’s potential bidding interest.
Other potential buyers in a Yahoo auction are said to include Alibaba,Â telecom giant AT&TÂ (T), cable and broadband provider ComcastÂ (CCV), U.S. entertainment powerhouse WaltÂ DisneyÂ (DIS) and Japanese telecom company SoftBank Group.