A Yahoo Bidding Race Scorecard

With all these big Internet names floating around, let's take a look at the chances any of these companies will make it out with Yahoo in hand. 

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With all these big Internet names floating around, let's take a look at the chances any of the big name companies vying for the former Internet giant will make it out with Yahoo in hand. Some high profile bidders have started to crop up, a month after Yahoo put itself up for sale. Just yesterday, Google threw its hat into the Yahoo bidder rumor mill, The Wall Street Journal reported. Before that, other big name companies like Microsoft and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba were among the rumored buyers. A month in, how does the race look for these bidders?


Why they want Yahoo: Google could sell even more ads. Yahoo has relationships with places like ABC News, which provide content for Yahoo and for which Yahoo sells ads.  "Google is interested in having deeper business relationships with such publishers," writes Efrati. Google could also sell its ads on Yahoo sites. Beyond ad sales, Google would gain an even larger Web presence to the places Google needs it most, like its nascent social network. "Any deal involving Google could also bring other opportunities," continues Efrati. "Such as bring Google's social-networking service Google+ to Yahoo's audience of nearly 700 million unique visitors a month."

Likelihood of actually ending up with Yahoo:  The talks are in very preliminary stages, things could likely fall through. "Google and prospective partners have held early-stage discussions but haven't put together a formal proposal and Google may end up not pursuing a bid" a person "familiar with the matter told Efrati, he writes in a follow up Journal piece. Google might be feigning interest for its own benefit. The Yahoo rival might throw in a number to make the bidding more competitive, or harder for Microsoft, with no real intentions of paying up.

Yet, Google has talked with private equity firms, people familiar with the matter told Efrati. And there are reasons that Google might want to help Yahoo out financially. Google doesn't want to look like it owns the Internet. Already under anti-trust scrutiny, Google might try to maintain Yahoo as its competition, ventures Bloomberg's Brian Womack. "Google, which is under regulatory scrutiny from governments around the world, may lend its financial support to preserve Yahoo as a rival and bolster competition in the Internet industry," writes Womack.

But then again, anti-trust might be just the reason Google has no business bidding on Yahoo. Google once tried an advertising-search partnership with Yahoo in 2008, which never worked out because of anti-trust issues.


Why they want Yahoo: The company already has a stake in Yahoo, with its 10 year Bing partnership. The deal's structure would give Microsoft more influence, writes Efrati. "Microsoft isn't seeking full ownership of Yahoo, but rather acting in effect as a financier partly in exchange for being able to retain some influence over Yahoo's future," explains Efrati. Of course, with Yahoo under its umbrella, Microsoft would have a much larger share of the Internet pie, explains The Guardian's Dominic Rushe. "One group of executives believe buying Yahoo would be a 'knock-out blow' to rival AOL, leaving MS-Yahoo as the undisputed leading web portal," he writes.

Likelihood of actually ending up with Yahoo: It looks like Microsoft is more serious about this Yahoo thing than Google. "Microsoft is now considering financing a potential joint bid for Yahoo by extending loans to its deal partners and buying preferred stock in Yahoo, said people familiar with the matter," explains Efrati. Microsoft has already played this game before, offering $44.6 billion to Yahoo. But the deal fell through. Perhaps second time is the charm?

Yet,  Microsoft too might meet some anti-trust scrutiny if it were to take on Yahoo. And Google might join federal anti-trust lawyers in lobbying against the sale.


Why they want Yahoo: Jack Ma, the CEO of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has expressed strong interest in Yahoo. At a conference earlier this month he said he was  "very, very interested," in buying Yahoo. Yahoo currently owns 43 percent of the e-commerce company. When Ma attempted to buy back its shares, Yahoo wasn't interested in returning them. Ma had some very public disagreements with Yahoo, which Ma might want to take in his direction, explains Efrati. "The two firms have had a contentious relationship and Bartz was criticised for her handling of the Chinese firm, seen as one of Yahoo's best assets." Ma also has interests in expanding Alibaba's U.S. presence. Yahoo would provide that in.

Likelihood of actually ending up with Yahoo: This is an ambitious acquisition for the e-commerce company, wrote  Efrati earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal. And the Chinese acquisition of an American company would be hard for American consumers and lawmakers to stomach. "A deal would be among the largest purchases of a U.S. operation by a Chinese company, and it comes amid tensions between the U.S. and China over Internet security," wrote Efrati.

Even so, Alibaba might go for it anywya, Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China Ltd., a consulting firm that serves companies doing business in China, told Efrati. "Jack has little to lose in making a bid, and perhaps the risks of not being allowed to buy Yahoo could strengthen his personal stock at home amongst his employees, Chinese in general and perhaps also the Chinese government."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.