The longtime internet company Yahoo is on the block again, and one of its bidders appears to be none other than Verizon. Preliminary bids are due on Monday, whether for all or part of the company's various pieces. Other bidders being talked about include Google, Time Inc, and a collection of private equity players whether solo or as a team.
But it is Verizon's rumored bid that is most interesting to me. Verizon's purchase of AOL last spring to enter the content side of things came as a bit of a surprise to me, but to follow up with the purchase of Yahoo they would be more than doubling down on that plan. Along with the internet business, which is worth perhaps $4-8B, Verizon is thought to be including the $8.5B Yahoo Japan in its bid. Yahoo's $30B investment in the Chinese firm AliBaba, however, would be left to other hands.
Yahoo has been cutting jobs as it struggles to find relevance in the sector, but with just under $5B in revenue last year it's still got significant heft. Verizon has to think that they could do a better job with the assets than Yahoo can on its own, and there's certainly room for that possibility. They'd surely be integrating it with the AOL assets, with some significant cost savings that would give the company an advantage over private equity suitors. But in terms of finding a path to growth, they'll surely be thinking about how to leverage their content presence alongside their wireless network and customers. That's an understandable direction, but it's one that is easier done on a spreadsheet than in real life.