Parties looking to buy Yahoo's core web businesses and Asian assets will have until April 11 to submit preliminary bids, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which cites sources close to the matter.
The Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) board was revealed to have put the company up for sale in February, with prospective suitors said to include Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). (See Investors Question Yahoo's Spinoff Intentions.)
According to the latest report, Yahoo's bankers have been approaching other companies including IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI), Time and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which is believed to have held talks with private equity companies about helping to fund an acquisition.
Sources have told the WSJ that Microsoft is concerned about holding on to revenues it generates from a search deal with Yahoo.
In total, around 40 companies are reported to have signed non-disclosure agreements with Yahoo in recent weeks, but the web company is trying to narrow down the field to just a handful of serious bidders.
Interested parties have been asked to provide details of the assets they are looking to acquire and how much they would be willing to pay.
Complicating matters is an upcoming shareholder vote on whether to replace the nine members of Yahoo's board with individuals nominated by Starboard Value, an activist investor that has criticized current board members for dallying over discussions with prospective buyers.
The sale process is being handled by an independent committee that does not include CEO Marissa Mayer. According to the WSJ report, Mayer has been left out because of the possibility she might be involved in a private equity bid for Yahoo assets.
Yahoo's current market capitalization is about $33.4 billion, but much of its value stems from its investments in China's Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading