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Yahoo no longer playing hard-to-get, report says

Company is reportedly handing over information to potential suitors to help them determine how much they might want to spend to acquire all, or part, of Yahoo.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Yahoo has been playing hard-to-get lately, saying that it doesn't want to be acquired. But according to a new report, the company is handing out financial information to give potential suitors much of the data they need to file a bid.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cites "people familiar with the matter," Yahoo has authorized investment banks Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co. to send out both public and nonpublic financial data to a host of companies that have indicated some interest in acquiring the online giant. According to the Journal's sources, the data includes financial performance and "revenue projections."

Interest in acquiring Yahoo has come from all parts of the world. Just yesterday, Bloomberg reported that China-based e-commerce company Alibaba, along with investment firms Silver Lake and Russia's Digital Sky Technologies, were considering joining forces to deliver a buyout offer to Yahoo. In addition, venture firm Andreessen Horowitz and Providence Equity Partners, among others, are also considering bidding for the online company.

That said, there is some speculation that some of the companies might not want to buy all of Yahoo. Alibaba, which Yahoo owns 40 percent of, is currently the only firm known to have interest in acquiring all of Yahoo.

Related stories:
Silver Lake, DST, Alibaba mulling joint Yahoo bid, report says

Silver Lake considering Yahoo bid
Yahoo's Bartz out as chief executive

The issue standing in many companies' way when acquiring Yahoo is that it's still an expensive proposition. Yahoo's market cap hit $18.26 billion yesterday, and given the company's history with would-be buyers, its board will likely expect a significant premium on its stock price of $14.46, pushing the acquisition price much higher than its market cap. However, Yahoo's many, potentially lucrative divisions can be acquired for much cheaper, which has prompted such interest in the firm.

For Yahoo, the decision to accept a buyout of part or all of the company will also rely upon the impact a denial would have on the firm's shares. Since Yahoo fired CEO Carol Bartz last month, the company's shares are up nearly $2, or about 12 percent, due mainly to expectations of a possible buyout. If Yahoo rejects a deal and decides to go it alone, the company's shares could plummet, causing a disaster scenario for Yahoo's embattled board of directors.

But before all that can happen, Yahoo must first receive some bids. And so far, according to reports, that hasn't happened.