Verizon and AT&T will battle each other, but this time it will reportedly be over the ownership of Yahoo.
The two companies are getting ready to make it to the third and final round of an auction for Yahoo, Reuters reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. A group lead by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and financed by Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett also is expected to reach the final round.
After its board reviews the second-round offers, Yahoo is expected to notify the companies that will make the third round as early as Monday, one of the sources said.
Once a key Internet player, Yahoo has been trying to prop up its sagging business. CEO Marissa Mayer has attempted to revive the company by concentrating on mobile sites and services, but consumers and investors have been unimpressed. Yahoo's weakened condition has forced the board of directors to look at options beyond an attempted turnaround, most notably a possible sale.
Most of the bidding has centered on Yahoo's core Internet business, which includes its email, website and advertising technology. But the company is also trying to sell off other assets, such as its patents and real estate holdings, which it hopes could bring in more than $1 billion.
During the second round of bidding, Verizon came up with an offer in the low end of the $3.5 billion to $5 billion range, Reuters' sources said. Verizon is mainly interested in integrating Yahoo with AOL, which it bought last year for $4.4 billion, in an attempt to focus on mobile video services and online advertising.
AT&T and Gilbert's group each bid around $5 billion. But those offers included Yahoo's core Internet business and well as its patents and its real estate assets, Bloomberg reported Friday.
Yahoo is looking to end the auction by next month, according to one of Reuters' sources. A sale of its core assets would leave Yahoo owning just a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan and a 15 percent slice of Chinese e-commerce Alibaba site, Reuters noted.
Verizon and AT&T both declined CNET's request for comment. Yahoo did not immediately respond.