Yahoo Auction: Final Bids Due on Monday

Courtesy of Yahoo!
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

Verizon, AT&T and private equity firms have been among the suitors.

The long-running Yahoo auction is entering its final stage.

Final bids for the internet giant are due on Monday, with the company's board expected to make a decision soon thereafter, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing sources briefed on the process. A source confirmed the timing to THR.

Verizon was believed to have submitted a $3 billion bid for Yahoo's core internet business last month. AT&T, private equity firms, including TPG, and a group led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert have also been bidding.

Verizon has been considered a frontrunner in the auction, with executives publicly expressing their interest in the business. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told an investor conference last month that "we have gone on a strategic roadmap here around mobile-first activity.” He highlighted how Verizon bought AOL for $4.4 billion for its advertising technology, emphasizing that “AOL has brought a lot of viewership to the platform.” He added: “Viewership matters, because viewership drives advertising dollars, which drives the top-line revenue. When you think about viewership, Yahoo has viewership. OK, so that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Activist Yahoo investor Eric Jackson of SpringOwl Asset Management also wrote this week that final offers were due on Monday. He also mentioned that Japanese internet and telecom firm SoftBank, which owns Sprint, could make a bid to boost its stake in Yahoo Japan.

The Monday bidding deadline, which follows several rounds since February, falls onto the same day as Yahoo's second-quarter earnings report. 

B. Riley analyst Sameet Sinha, who has a "neutral" rating and $38 target price on Yahoo's stock, predicted financials "in line" with expectations, highlighting that "strategic alternatives are the focus."

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has spent the past four years trying to turn around the internet company's operations. Yahoo’s various destinations attract more than 1 billion visitors a month, but a small percentage of people's time spent online.

Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman said in May that the sale process was going "very, very well" and that the management team was "absolutely aligned" with the company's board and sale committee. Some observers had expected bids for the company to be as high as $8 billion, but the bids in earlier rounds appear to have come in much lower.

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