Could SoftBank Buy Yahoo?

Japan's SoftBank may be interested in buying Yahoo's Internet business.

Iain Morris, International Editor

December 3, 2015

2 Min Read
Could SoftBank Buy Yahoo?

Japan's SoftBank has been touted as a potential buyer of Yahoo's Internet business in a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the publication had earlier reported that Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) is considering a sale of its main business after failing repeatedly to revive its fortunes.

According to unnamed analysts, that business could attract interest from SoftBank Corp. , one of Japan's three main telecom service providers.

SoftBank is keen to focus more on investments in overseas and Internet ventures and could see value in Yahoo's assets and expertise. But turning around the ailing web player would be a daunting challenge.

SoftBank, which already controls US wireless carrier Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), declined to provide a comment to the WSJ on the latest speculation.

One potential barrier to a deal could be Yahoo's 35% stake in Yahoo Japan and its 15% stake in China's Alibaba Group .

SoftBank also owns 32% of Alibaba and 43% of Yahoo Japan and CEO Masayoshi Son has indicated he would prefer to remain a minority shareholder in both.

But Yahoo's board may be considering a spin-off of the Chinese and Japanese investments, paving the way to a deal with SoftBank.

Earlier this year, SoftBank hired former Google executive Nikesh Arora to take charge of investments in overseas Internet ventures, although he appears to have been focusing on startups in Asia.

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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