Bloomberg News

Yahoo Advisers Are Fielding Inquiries From ‘Multiple Parties’

September 24, 2011

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Yahoo! Inc. advisers are receiving inquiries from “multiple parties” interested in various unspecified strategic options, according to a memo to employees from co-founder Jerry Yang.

“Our advisers are working with us to develop ideas that we will pursue proactively,” according to the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “They are fielding inquiries from multiple parties that have already expressed interest in a number of potential options.”

The process for reviewing strategic options is likely to take “months, not weeks,” according to the memo, which was also signed by co-founder David Filo and Chairman Roy Bostock.

Yahoo, the biggest U.S. Web portal, fired Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz earlier this month and announced a strategic review to help the company revive growth and lure more users. Under Bartz, Yahoo had frustrated investors while grappling with rising competition from Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

Private-equity investor Silver Lake is considering a bid for Yahoo, two people involved in the deliberations said last week. As part of a deal, Silver Lake would sell off Yahoo’s Asian assets and then attempt to turn around the main operations or find a buyer for that business, the people said.

Looking Around

Representatives of Silver Lake have approached other companies to gauge interest in purchasing Yahoo’s main business, one person said.

Yahoo replaced Bartz with Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse, who will serve as interim CEO. The board began a search for a permanent leader, and that process continues, according to the memo.

“By whatever measure you want to use -- engagement, quality of products and services, our value to our advertisers -- we all feel that we have what it takes to succeed,” the executives said. “Also, our Asia assets remain one of our top priorities and we continue to work well with the teams there.”

Yahoo’s Asian assets include stakes in Alibaba Group, which provides e-commerce services in China, and Yahoo Japan Corp. A private-equity company would likely seek a buyer for those assets, which according to Gabelli & Co., account for about 80 percent of Yahoo’s market value. Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma tried to repurchase the stake from Bartz and was rebuffed.

Yahoo’s directors are under pressure from investors such as Third Point LLC, which urged the board to resign this month after buying a 5.2 percent stake. The investment firm said directors erred in spurning a $47.5 billion takeover bid from Microsoft Corp. in 2008. Yahoo’s market value is now $18.6 billion.

Yang’s memo was reported on earlier by Business Insider.

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, rose 72 cents to $14.71 yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have fallen 12 percent this year.

--Editors: Nick Turner, Marcus Chan

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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