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A group of investors led by private- equity firm Silver Lake has offered to buy a minority stake in Yahoo for about $16.60 a share, reports Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter. That would value Yahoo at about $20.6bn, or about 6 per cent higher than its market capitalisation at Tuesday’s close, says the news wire. Silver Lake is working with Microsoft and Andreessen Horowitz.
Thomas H. Lee, Microsoft and Silver Lake are all reported to be looking at parts of Yahoo. Reuters says THL is interested in buying Yahoo’s US operations, in contrast to other bidders who are eyeing minority stakes or teaming up with Asian partners. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the news agency says THL is hoping to do a leveraged buyout of Yahoo’s US business, which could be worth $5bn to $6bn. Another group of firms, including Blackstone, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman, is in talks to team up with China’s Alibaba Group and Japan’s Softbank, the report says. Meanwhile Bloomberg says Silver Lake Partners is working with Microsoft on a bid for a minority stake in Yahoo, while Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm, is also weighing a possible bid, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Microsoft is considering a bid for Yahoo, Reuters reports, citing sources close to the situation. A number of other companies including buyout shops Providence Equity Partners, Hellman & Friedman and Silver Lake Partners, and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Russian technology investment firm DST Global, are also thought to be looking at Yahoo, the sources say. Yahoo is readying financial pitch books for potential buyers. Meanwhile the FT reports that Microsoft is set to win Brussels’ approval for its planned $8.5bn (€5.9bn) acquisition of online telephone service Skype, despite its previously strained relations with European competition authorities and complaints from would-be rivals over Microsoft “bundling” the software with Windows. The US Federal Trade Commission approved the deal in June.
AOL could be on the verge of teaming up with private equity firms including Blackstone and Silver Lake Partners to buy up Yahoo, sources have told the WSJ. But the complexity of any buyout might yet scuttle the talks, which remain at a preliminary stage with no Yahoo involvement so far. One of the scenarios under consideration is for AOL to combine with Yahoo in a reverse merger while China’s Alibaba buys back the 40 per cent stake Yahoo holds in it, Reuters reports, noting additional private-equity overtures to Newscorp. Yahoo has meanwhile taken on Goldman Sachs advisers to help it avoid a takeover, Bloomberg adds. But sector watchers think a deal would be far too complex to pull off, to say nothing of regulatory risk, FT Alphaville cautions.
Warburg Pincus and Silver Lake Partners were close to an agreement on Monday night on a buy-out of Interactive Data, in a deal valuing the publicly traded financial information company controlled by Pearson at more than $3bn, reports the FT, which is owned by Pearson. The announcement could come as early as Tuesday morning and would mark one of the biggest private equity deals since the credit crisis began.
Now, with Tandberg reporting second quarter earnings later on Thursday, chief executive Fredrik Halvorsen will have the chance to clear things up once and for all. Read more