Yahoo gave interested parties a deadline of 11 April to make preliminary bids for assets it has put up for sale, with Microsoft apparently looking to play a role in the process.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo sent letters to possible buyers, asking them to submit proposals including what they are interested in, and how much they are prepared to pay. Other information requested concerns financing, likely conditions and approvals, and “key assumptions” they would be making – for example relating to taxation.
Last week, Re/code reported that Microsoft had been meeting private equity firms in the frame for Yahoo deals, stating that it may be willing to provide “significant” financing.
The motivation behind the move is to ensure that the US computing giant remains on good terms with potential buyers, which is perhaps unsurprising due to the two companies’ close – and sometimes complex – relationship.
In February, Yahoo confirmed it is “exploring strategic alternatives” that could include the sale of formerly core businesses, as it looks to focus on growth areas such as mobile, video, native and social.
But Re/code said that the process has been farcical, with the progress slow, and it is difficult for bidders to get access to the information they need. While it is seeking non-disclosure agreements with suitors, it is then not opening up on the numbers, earlier reports said.
Activist investor Starboard Value (which owns 1.7 per cent of Yahoo) has even gone as far as saying it will nominate nine candidates for election to Yahoo’s board, stating that the incumbent body “clearly lacks the leadership, objectivity, and perspective needed to make decisions that are in the best interests of shareholders”.
With regard to the sale, it continued: “There are good reasons for shareholders to be highly concerned about the current strategic review process. Despite what appears to be strong interest from large strategic and financial buyers, as referenced in the media, nearly two months have gone by since Yahoo officially publicly announced its intention to pursue strategic alternatives for the Core Business, and it seems little progress has been made.”
Potential bidders for Yahoo assets include Verizon Communications, although earlier this month it bemoaned that “until we get under the hood and really see what’s there, there’s really nothing to talk about at this point”, Starboard Value noted.
Other names in the frame include AT&T, media firms IAC and Time, and Comcast.