Yahoo shares rose 2% in early trading Thursday after a CNBC report that the Internet company had received “multiple” bids of $5 billion or more.
Verizon Communications, which has been seen as the leading candidate to snap up Yahoo, bid “more than $3.5 billion,” according to the CNBC report, citing anonymous sources. Verizon execs have confirmed the telco — which bought AOL last year for $4.4 billion — has been evaluating an acquisition of Yahoo.
The report did not identify which entities have submitted bids in the $5 billion to $6 billion range. Besides Verizon, other bidders have been reported to include AT&T, private-equity firm TPG and a consortium that includes Bain Capital, Vista Equity Partners and Ross Levinsohn. Last month Warren Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway would be a potential financing partner for a Yahoo bid by his friend Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans.
The second-round bids for Yahoo were not binding, and the company will next compile a shortlist of potential acquirers from which to solicit offers with committed financing, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous source.
Yahoo’s board will review the second round of bids Friday, with the final round of the sales process expected to conclude in mid-July, CNBC reported. “Yahoo actually seems to be running a fairly robust auction,” David Faber, co-host of CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” said in his on-air report.
Some of the $5 billion-plus bids include “some, if not all” of Yahoo’s real estate and patent holdings, while some don’t include those, according to CNBC. Analysts have pegged the value of the company’s real estate holdings at $1 billion, and its intellectual-property assets could be worth $1 billion or more.
Yahoo currently has a market cap of about $35 billion, with virtually all of that value tied to stakes in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan (which are not part of the sales process).
In February, Yahoo officially put itself on the block, bowing to pressure from investors unhappy with the declining financial performance under CEO Marissa Mayer’s leadership.