Yahoo’s stock price climbed more than 3% in mid-day trading Monday after Buffett’s comments and earlier reports of Gilbert’s interest in Yahoo.
“I’m an enormous admirer of Dan and what he has accomplished in Quicken Loans. Yahoo is not the type of thing I’d ever be an equity partner in,” Buffett said in a statement to CNBC Monday morning. “I don’t know the business and wouldn’t know how to evaluate it, but if Dan needed financing, with proper terms and protections, we would be a possible financing help.”
Gilbert submitted an offer for Yahoo’s core business with the backing of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, according to a report late last Friday by Reuters. That’s part of a second round of bids that are currently being evaluated by the Yahoo board and its advisers. Others said to be vying to acquire the Yahoo assets include Verizon Communications, private-equity firm TPG and an investment consortium led by Bain Capital and Vista Equity Partners.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Gilbert have enlisted as advisers two former Yahoo execs — Dan Rosensweig, now CEO of Chegg, and Tim Cadogan, chairman and CEO of the online-advertising company OpenX Technologies — Recode reported.
Separately, on Monday Berkshire Hathaway disclosed that it acquired a stake in Apple worth more than $1 billion as of March 31, although the value of those shares has since declined.
Yahoo, which is projecting continuing declines in its core display ad and search businesses for 2016, officially put itself on the block in February. Bids for the company’s web operations and other assets including patents and real estate holdings could top $8 billion, according to an estimate by Wall Street research firm SunTrust.
Last month, Yahoo resolved its battle with activist investor Starboard Value, under which it named four new independent directors nominated by Starboard — including Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith, who has been an outspoken critic of CEO Marissa Mayer. Starboard had previously nominated a slate of nine candidates, seeking to oust Mayer and the other existing board members.
On April 30, Yahoo live-streamed Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting from Omaha, Neb., the first time the company’s meeting was made available to the public on the Internet.