Yahoo Being Window Shopped?



Yahoo is in the news a lot as of late. That we all know. The news is rarely good but the reports coming from The Wall Street Journal and its tech blog All Things Digital is that there may be interest in buying the struggling web property. That could be the best thing for it.

At AllThingsD.com Kara Swisher reported yesterday

Make no mistake–there are no definitive offers on the table to do a variety of takeover deals of Yahoo by either private equity moneybags or from big media giants such as News Corp. or smaller Web firms such as AOL.

But that does not mean that major players are not circling Yahoo and assessing the situation aggressively, a fact reflected in the rise in the Internet giant’s stock price today based on the many rumors swirling around it.

The Wall Street Journal continues

One of the scenarios under discussion among the buyout firms is a complex deal in which China’s Alibaba Group would buy back Yahoo’s roughly 40% stake in Alibaba, the people said.

Some of Yahoo’s other assets would also be sold off to interested media or technology companies, and the remaining company would be of a much smaller valuation that private-equity firms could get financing for, one of the people said.

Another scenario involves AOL combining its operations with Yahoo in a reverse merger after Yahoo disposes of the Alibaba stake, the people said. It is unclear if the resulting entity would be listed publicly.

All in all, the deals would be complicated and likely non-hostile due to the provisions that Yahoo enacted following Microsoft’s attempt to buy the company a while back.

Since I don’t work for the Wall Street Journal AND I am not rooting around for people willing to speak about this, I can only look at the same information you can and do what we do so well: speculate.

On a very simplistic basis it seems that anything involving a Chinese company could be a double edged sword with one side being ability to get into a relatively closed market more easily and the other being boatloads of headaches and drama. If Aol. were to end up as the owner of Yahoo that would pretty much seal the title of “Content Farm King” for Aol. since part of Yahoo is Associated Content which was purchased in the last year.

No matter how you shake anything that is related to Yahoo it is going to be wrought with concerns and questions. Can the company be turned around? Where does Carol Bartz fit in this equation, if at all? Would a purchased Yahoo be stripped of some of its disparate parts and brought back to some kind of focus rather than the “all things to all people” approach it currently seems to take?

So many questions. I think one has been answered more definitively lately though and that it finally looks like Yahoo is not a search company. Come to think of it, what would happen with the Microsoft / bing deal if someone like Aol. bought the company (considering that Aol. just reupped with Google as its search partner)?

So many questions and so few answers. This makes sense since it is Yahoo we are talking about after all.