Report: Yahoo readies books for potential buyers

Prepping financial information a sign that troubled Web giant ready to put itself up for sale among potential bidders including Alibaba.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

As Yahoo prepares its financial information for potential buyers, signaling its intent to put all or parts of itself up for sale, Alibaba and investment firms Silver Lake and Digital Sky Technologies are reportedly discussing a possible joint bid for the troubled Internet giant.

Sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that Yahoo, with Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co. will be sending out financial details to private equity firms and other potential bidders and partners.

A source said in the Wednesday report that over the last few weeks, potential buyers from large technology and media companies to private equity firms have proposed several different options regarding Yahoo's various businesses. "Almost everyone on the street has some angle they are trying to play," said the source.

Goldman Sachs is Yahoo's longtime banker, while Allen & Co. is helping Yahoo conduct a long-term "strategic review", Reuters said. All three parties did not comment for the report.

The news comes just days after Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, said he was "very interested" in acquiring Yahoo, its biggest investor. Yahoo owns 40 percent of Alibaba's shares.

Bloomberg also reported today that Alibaba, private equity firm Silver Lake and Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies are discussing a possible joint bid for Yahoo, citing three people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The discussions are still at an early stage and it is not yet certain whether the group will agree to make a bid, said the sources.

"One of the major motivations for Jack Ma to buy Yahoo is for him to increase his ownership of Alibaba," Li Muzhi, an analyst at Mizuho Securities in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.

Li added in the report that if Yahoo, a company that plays a big role in U.S. communications, gets bought by an international consortium from China and Russia, "the deal will be scrutinized by U.S. agencies very seriously".

Yahoo has been struggling against stagnant growth, falling advertising revenue and shrinking market share. Last month, its board fired Carol Bartz from her role as CEO.

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