Falling market share and CEO’s being given the boot have decreased the value of Yahoo! lately, so could it be time for the board to consider selling the company?
After the exit of CEO Carol Bartz, a leaked memo from founder Jerry Yang to his employees fueled rumors that the company wouldn’t knock back a takeover bid.
Here is the excerpt from the email:
Our advisers are working with us to develop ideas that we will pursue proactively. At the same time, they are fielding inquiries from multiple parties that have already expressed interest in a number of potential options.
We will take the time we need to select and structure the best approach for the company, its shareholders and employees.
This translates to: For the right price, you bet we will sell!
One company that has expressed interest in buying Yahoo! is China’s Alibaba Group. Its CEO Jack Ma told the conference at Stanford University recently that “We are very interested in Yahoo. Our Alibaba group is important to Yahoo and Yahoo is important to us … All the serious buyers interested in Yahoo have talked to us.”
Even though it’s been reported that Yahoo’s board of directors are considering a possible selling of the company in parts or in whole as an option, the company was unavailable for a response to Jack Ma’s interest in acquiring the company. This is probably due to the recent souring of the relationship between Alibaba and Yahoo! after Alibaba transferred ownership of Alipay, their premier online payment service, to a third party company without informing Yahoo! which owns a 43% stake in Alibaba.
Ma has indicated that he is very keen to buy back the 43% stake Yahoo! holds in his company and that he has also held talks with potential investors including Silver Lake Partners, Microsoft, Hellman & Friedman and Andreesen Horowitz to join him in a Yahoo! acquisition bid.
The only question that remains is, will Ma make Yang an offer he can’t refuse? I guess only time will tell.