Fred Wilson speculates about potential buyers of Yahoo if it were available, and any company is available for a price. AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, News Corp. came up, but Fred concludes that Microsoft would be the most likely match.
Microsoft can afford Yahoo! and a combined MSN/Yahoo! would certainly be a stronger competitive player against Google, something that is clearly on Ballmer's mind right now. That seems the most likely deal to me.
It's surprising that Yahoo! finds themselves in this place. They made the right move to get into search with the Overture deal and are the only other viable competitor in search right now. Microsoft may get there, but they aren't yet. But Yahoo!'s user and page growth is slowing and their monetization efforts are slowing too. And the market doesn't like slowing.
I think the chances that Yahoo! actually does get bought is slim, but even the fact that the market is having this discussion is a wake up call for Yahoo!'s board, management, shareholders, employees, and customers.