Rumors that Yahoo was up for sale again boosted the firm’s stock price towards the end of the week and a leaked memo from cofounder Jerry Yang added fuel to the acquisition flames.
Despite denying that Yahoo would auction itself off soon after the board fired now ex-CEO Carol Bartz, Yang has had to go back on his words, though he says the process could still take time.
The purported memo, which is said to have gone out company-wide said the immediate strategy of the Yahoo board was to “help return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation.”
Then, like a good real-estate agent, Yang ticked off all the reasons a buyer might want his purple house.
“we have 680 million users worldwide. We have nine of the #1 properties in the U.S., and we are a leader in display advertising,” he said adding that Yahoo’s brand too was “iconic.”
The firm’s Asian assets – which include an approximate 40 percent stake in China’s Alibaba, which owns websites alibaba.com and Taobao – were said to “remain one of our top priorities.”
Indeed, speculators have said that should Yahoo be acquired, much of its value would actually come from its Chinese assets, which are considered to be the most valuable part of its offering.
“Our advisers are working with us to develop ideas that we will pursue proactively,” said Yang adding “At the same time, they are fielding inquiries from multiple parties that have already expressed interest in a number of potential options.”
That doesn’t mean the firm is willing to give itself up in a fire sale, however, with Yang promising “We will take the time we need to select and structure the best approach for the company, its shareholders and employees.”
The process, however, could take “months, not weeks,” the memo cautioned.
A search for a new CEO is also ongoing, said Yang, who urged employees not to be “distracted by the rumors and speculation,” as the firm moved forward “with a sense of urgency.”
Meanwhile analysts on Wall Street had already raised their forecasts of Yahoo being bought by 80 percent, prompting a three percent rise in shares on Thursday and an upgrade of the firm’s stock from “hold” to “buy.”
Microsoft is still seen as a credible suitor for Yahoo and the company with the most to gain from such an acquisition.