The scramble to snatch up ailing tech giant Yahoo! is becoming more interesting. The parent company of UK tabloid The Daily Mail is talking with private equity firms about a possible bid, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Internet company originally wanted preliminary offers by tomorrow, but has extended the deadline to April 18.
Daily Mail & General Trust PLC is mainly interested in Yahoo’s news and media properties — including Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, and Yahoo News — according to the report. It could arrange to take them over from a private equity firm that buys all of Yahoo’s U.S. operations. Or a partner firm might buy the company and then merge Yahoo’s news and media operations into a new entity that also includes DailyMail.com and Elite Daily.
The Journal says that about 40 entities have shown some interest in Yahoo. But it isn’t clear how many are serious bidders. Typically in a sale several companies show up to kick the tires, even if they have no intention of following through.
It’s believed, though, that Verizon and Google are interested. Time Inc., private equity firms Bain and TPG, and Microsoft have taken a look. Other names said to be in the mix include CBS, AT&T, and IAC/InterActive Corp.
Yahoo is under pressure to right the ship after a series of setbacks under CEO Marissa Mayer, who took over in 2012. In February the board formed a Strategic Review Committee and hired financial and legal teams to look into “strategic alternatives.” That contributed to a 35% jump in Yahoo’s stock price.
The company is privately telling potential bidders that its revenues (not including traffic acquisition costs) could fall about 15% to $3.5 billion this year, with earnings before depreciation, taxes and amortization down 20% to $750 million, Re/code reports.
Activist investor group Starboard Value is ready to pounce. In late March it proposed an alternate slate of directors. Starboard Managing Member Jeffrey Smith says the investment firm is “extremely disappointed with Yahoo’s dismal financial performance, poor management execution, egregious compensation and hiring practices and the general lack of accountability and oversight by the Board.”