Yahoo is shriveling up as a company. As the tech giant prepares for its sale, the prevailing questions are who wants to buy it and why? Documents obtained by Re/code showed Yahoo's revenue dropping 15 percent and its earnings by 20 percent. And The Information reported back in February that all three of the company's flagship properties--mail, search and Yahoo.com--were shedding audience.
Yahoo is entertaining preliminary bids until April 18, and with the lead up to a sale approaching a conclusion, the list of possible bidders is coming into focus. The Wall Street Journal counts roughly 40 entities among Yahoo's suitors, but some of the most notable ones are having second thoughts. Microsoft and IAC/InterActiveCorp have at points been rumored to show interest. Now the companies are turning the other way, according to Bloomberg.
IAC Chairman Barry Diller told "Bloomberg Go" that Yahoo "is just not worth a candle unless, essentially, you got it at such a discounted price." He said IAC probably wouldn't buy Yahoo. So, who seems more willing to take the gamble? Google, Verizon and the U.K.'s Daily Mail stand out as three of the most serious potential bidders.
Here's a rundown of what these probable major bidders might want with the crumbling titan of Silicon Valley.
Daily Mail & General Trust PLC
The U.K. company behind the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper and online business confirmed to the Journal Monday that it was in preliminary talks with investors about placing a bid on Yahoo. Daily Mail's main interest in Yahoo is, predictably, the tech giant's media assets. Sources tell the Journal that Daily Mail may be interested in partnering with a private equity firm to purchase the whole company, with Daily Mail taking over news and media assets. The alternative, reports the Journal, is that the private equity company takes the whole company and merges Daily Mail and Elite Daily with Yahoo's media properties.
Bloomberg reports Verizon is interested in Yahoo's Web business and says the telecommunications company is in talks with at least three financial advisors about buying up Yahoo, a sign the mobile network is serious about locking down a deal. Verizon is even reportedly interested in buying Yahoo Japan Corp. The Journal reports Verizon is the "bidder to beat," explaining that a Yahoo purchase would fall in line with Verizon's mobile-video strategy.
Were Google to acquire Yahoo, it would be able to eliminate a competitor while applying its "ad prowess" to Yahoo, according to the Washington Post. But a history of scrutiny from antitrust regulators stands in Google's way of realizing these possible intentions. "That's a huge antitrust issue," former antitrust official with the Justice Department, Gene Kimmelman, told the Post. "There would be an enormous red flag."