Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the Mail newspapers and Mail Online, has joined the suitors for Yahoo; which shows, if nothing else, that hope springs eternal.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (below), who joined from Google, has put the one-time internet search pioneer up for sale with an estimated price tag of $4bn – about the size of its revenue and, unfortunately, losses.
The Mail, which is interested in combining Yahoo’s news operations such as Yahoo Finance with its successful Mail Online operation, is planning to team up with private equity companies. Favourite to buy Yahoo is US telecoms giant Verizon which bought another internet pioneer fallen from grace, AOL, for $4.4bn last year. Yahoo’s valuable asset is its $25bn stake in Chinese online giant Alibaba which is not part of the sale.
The Mail is doubtless right to see that its best chance of making proper ad money from Mail Online is to secure a dramatically bigger presence in the US. It can offer private equity firms interested in Yahoo journalistic knowhow and experience. It also has a decent record of investing in unrelated online businesses.
But the likeliest outcome for Yahoo is a sale to Verizon, although it may struggle to secure $4bn.