We did see this coming at some point or the other, didn’t we? And now according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo has already begun the process to sell its key web business and Asian assets and has set a deadline of April 11 for preliminary bids.
The company has reportedly sent letters to the potential buyers in the recent weeks asking them about the assets they are looking to buy and the price expected by them.
They are also required to give other details such as how they would finance their purchase, what conditions or approvals would have to be met on their end, and what key assumptions they would be making by deciding to move forward with a deal.
Given the fact that Yahoo has set the deadline in April, the report speculates that the company might be aiming to close the deal by June or July- that is before its annual shareholder meeting.
That meeting could decide its ultimate fate as shareholders are likely to vote for the replacement of current nine board members with those directors nominated by activist investor and hedge fund Starboard Value LP.
Starboard Value, which holds 1,2% of Yahoo shares has been quite vocal in its criticism of the business strategy of the former search giant particularly under the leadership of Marissa Mayer and has been pressurizing the company to sell the business for quite some time now.
Mayer herself indicated about the company looking for “qualified strategic proposals” during the fourth quarter earnings call last month.
Last week, the hedge fund had sent a letter to Yahoo criticizing the board for taking too long to hold sale discussions with potential buyers.
The potential suitors which Yahoo has apparently contacted include Verizon Communications Inc., IAC/InterActiveCorp and Time Inc., as well as some private-equity firms like TPG and KKR & Co. The bankers representing Yahoo have contacted with these potential buyers but the process is said to be in early stages.
And of course, Microsoft also seems to be involved indirectly in the process having held discussions with some private-equity firms to help them finance the buyout. According to people familiar with the matter, Microsoft’s interest in Yahoo is to save revenues which it earns through its search partnership with Yahoo.