AOL, Private Equity Firms Explore Offer For Yahoo

14th October 2010

AOL considering offer for Yahoo

AOL considering offer for Yahoo

By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO And ANUPREETA DAS, Wall Street Journal

[excerpt]

AOL Inc. and several private-equity firms are exploring making an offer to buy Yahoo Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, devising a bold plan to marry two big Internet brands facing steep challenges.

AOL and private-equity firms are exploring a bid for Yahoo, devising plans to marry two big Internet brands that both face steep challenges. The discussions are preliminary and don’t include Yahoo. Jessica Vascellaro discusses. Also, John McKinnon discusses the Estate Tax as it grows as a hot-button election issue.

Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone Group LP are among the firms that have expressed interest in teaming up with AOL to buy Yahoo or trying to take it private on their own, these people said. They added that at least two or three other firms could be interested in participating if a formal buyout proposal is drawn up.

The people familiar with the matter cautioned that these discussions—involving private-equity firms, AOL executives and financial advisers—are preliminary and don’t yet involve Yahoo. The conversations may not lead to an approach given the complexities in structuring a proposal, the people said.

Spokeswomen for Yahoo and AOL declined to comment.

Yahoo has asked its banker Goldman Sachs about the rumors, verify whether they are credible and if there is an approach, what steps to follow, a person familiar with the matter said. The person characterized these discussions as routine in response to market speculation.

Yahoo has a long-standing relationship with Goldman, which advised it on Yahoo’s takeover defense against Microsoft Corp. in 2008.

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