Yahoo ‘Sets Two-Week Deadline’ For Preliminary Bids


The company is reportedly looking to narrow down the field of bidders to the most serious parties

Yahoo has given potential buyers until 11 April to submit proposals outlining their plans for acquiring the company’s core assets, including its search business and assets in the East Asia, according to a report.

The company, which is auctioning its core businesses and reportedly has a list of about 40 potential buyers, has sent letters to interested parties in recent days asking them to submit preliminary bids, including details of what assets they would like to acquire, what price and financing arrangements, by the 11 April deadline, The Wall Street Journal reported late on Monday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Bid details

Yahoo new logo

The bidders were asked to detail their financing arrangements for a possible deal, conditions or approvals that would need to be met and what key assumptions were underlying their buying plans, according to the report.

Those assumptions might include how much of a tax bill they expected to incur by stripping Yahoo’s stakes in China’s Alibaba and Yahoo Japan from the main company, the report said.

The preliminary bids are intended to help Yahoo single out serious buyers from the dozens of potential bidders, according to the Journal.

The process may also help Yahoo to gather a more precise idea of the price it may expect to receive for its various operations. Currently Yahoo’s overall business has a market value of about $33 billion (£23bn), but this assessment is largely based on Yahoo’s stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. Yahoo is also selling other web assets including its search, email and news businesses.

Yahoo is aiming to push forward quickly with the bidding process in order to have a deal in place before a shareholder meeting in June or July, when shareholders are likely to vote on a proposal to replace all nine members of its board of directors, according to industry analysts.

Board under fire

That vote was proposed by activist investor Starboard Value LP, which has nominated a list of alternate board members, after levelling criticism that the company’s current board had been too slow in initiating an asset sale. Yahoo hasn’t set a date for the meeting.

Potential buyers include Verizon Communications, IAC/InterActiveCorp and Time Inc., as well as private equity firms TPG and KKR & Co.

Microsoft has also reportedly held discussions with private equity firms about financing a buyout, with the motivation of preserving its revenue-generating search and advertising agreements with Yahoo.

Yahoo is managing the sale process through an independent board committee that includes chairman Maynard Webb and board members Thomas McInerney and H. Lee Scott, Jr., according to the Journal’s sources. The company’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, was reportedly excluded from the comittee because she may be involved as an investor in a private equity bid.

In addition to its plan to sell core businesses, Yahoo confirmed earlier this month it is looking for buyers for non-essential assets such as patents and property.

The company, which has struggled to compete with rivals such as Google and Facebook for advertising revenues, has recently taken cost-cutting measures such as cutting 15 percent of its staff.

Microsoft and Yahoo declined requests for comment.

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