Yahoo! could have finally found a buyer, for its US business at least, with reports that a private equity firm is considering a $5bn-6bn bid for the beleaguered giant. Thomas H. Lee Partners’ US-centric strategy differs from that of rivals, Reuters‘ sources claim, which are considering staged minority investments of around 20-percent; that would keep them under the trigger for shareholder approval, allowing Yahoo!’s board greater flexibility in choosing its new partners.
Thomas H. Lee Partners already has experience running Nielsen Co, Clear Channel and Univision, and believes it can use the same understanding to return Yahoo!’s US business to its former fortunes. However, it will go up against a Microsoft-backed investment, among others, previous sources have claimed; the software giant is tipped to be contributing to a proposal by private equity firm Silver Lake, though the extent of its involvement is unknown.
A common theme for potential investors is the belief that they can do a better job at the helm of Yahoo! than the current management has done, something not hard to believe when you look at the company’s recent performance. Previous CEO Carol Batrz was ousted in a high-profile decision by the Yahoo! board, leaving with a $14m bounty and an angry rant against management.
Yahoo! has since attempted to make itself topical once more, with an HTML5 digital news app called Livestand announced earlier in the month. That’s expected to be released for Android devices in the first half of 2012.