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UK’s Daily Mail publisher eyes Yahoo’s assets

The Daily Mail parent company is putting together a bid for Yahoo’s news properties that would increase its US presence significantly

The UK’s Daily Mail publisher is the latest company reportedly considering acquiring the news and media operations of Yahoo.

The ailing internet firm has been in decline since its advertising business was eclipsed by rivals Google and Facebook. Company shares have lost 30% of their value in the past two years.

Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has come under increasing pressure as her attempts to reverse the company’s fortunes in the past three years have failed to boost revenues.

Despite a string of strategic acquisitions focused on improving the company’s mobile services, Mayer is yet to deliver on her turnaround mission and Yahoo’s revenues have remained flat.

In February 2016, the beleaguered company announced a strategic review that would include exploring sales options, kicking off a bidding process due to close on 18 April 2016.

Yahoo is expected to attract some bids for its core web business, or pieces of it, and others for its stake in the Alibaba group and Yahoo Japan.  

The strategic review also included cutting 15% of Yahoo’s global workforce, and closing down five offices outside the US and seven digital magazines.

Activist investor Starboard Value has been pressing for a sale of Yahoo assets to revive the company’s revenue growth, and has been calling for a change in company leadership.

So far, Yahoo has reportedly attracted the interest of Verizon Communications, AT&T, Verizon subsidiary AOL, Google’s parent body Alphabet, Time and Microsoft.

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Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) has confirmed that it has approached several private-equity firms interested in making a bid for Yahoo, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

DMGT is expanding its operations in the US with the recent acquisition of news site Elite Daily. It plans to move into TV with a syndicated news show with Dr Phil (McGraw), reports the Guardian.

“Given the success of and Elite Daily, we have been in discussions with a number of parties who are potential bidders [for Yahoo],” a DMGT spokesman is quoted as saying.

However, the spokesman also said discussions are at a “very early stage” and that there is no certainty that any transaction will take place.

The DMGT bid could take one of two forms, the WSJ said, citing the people familiar with the matter.

In the first scenario, a private-equity partner would acquire Yahoo’s US operations, with DMGT taking over the news and media properties.

In the second scenario, a private-equity firm would acquire Yahoo and merge its media and news properties into a new company that would include and Elite Daily.

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