UPDATED, 5:10 PM: It looks like Verizon has a deal to buy Yahoo. Bloomberg News reports that the communications giant is set to announce Monday that it will pay $4.8 billion for the beleaguered company’s core web business in a deal that includes some real estate. That figure is in line with analysts’ expectations. The Wall Street Journal said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is not likely to have a major role after the acquisition.
PREVIOUSLY, July 22: Those who once thought that Yahoo and AOL should merge may soon see the next best thing: Verizon, which bought AOL last year, is “nearing a deal” to pick up Yahoo’s core assets, Bloomberg reports this morning.
The companies are said to be negotiating one-on-one following an auction that at a deadline this past Monday also included bids from AT&T, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, and private equity firms TPG and Vector Capital.
Verizon will report Q2 earnings on Tuesday morning — making it an opportune time to announce a deal and discuss it with analysts.
Yahoo’s expected to fetch at least $5 billion for its core properties that offer news, financial information, sports, mail, Tumblr, and Flickr. CEO Marissa Mayer told analysts on Monday that the board was “deep into the process of evaluating proposals” — but offered no details.
Investors have bid up Yahoo’s share price by 16.8% so far in 2016 in anticipation of a sale. The stock opened flat this morning.
The company has had little to show since Mayer took charge in 2012, aiming to revive its status as a Silicon Valley icon. She sought to beef up the company with deals including a $1 billion acquisition of Tumblr and $650 million for BrightRoll.
She also built media properties around brand-name talent including Katie Couric and former New York Times consumer electronics critic David Pogue. The company produced longform TV shows including Sin City Saints, Other Space and Season 6 of Community, but in October said it had to take a $42 million write-down on them.
A sale would remove “the concern of the destruction of capital that is occurring by the current management, as reflected by the [$482 million] write down of the recent Tumblr acquisition,” BGC Partners’ Colin Gillis said this week after Yahoo posted its Q2 results. “We see the purchase price paid for Tumblr – and subsequent write-downs- as a perfect example of the misdirection undertaken by management, and a reason why the core business should be sold off and this turnaround effort halted.”