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Yahoo! Starts! Sale! Process! To! Fend! Off! Starboard!

Redmond reported as Purple Palace suitor

Yahoo! has been accused of getting serious about the contentious slow-motion train wreck that is its sale process.

The Wall Street Journal reckons the recent threat by activist investor Starboard to sack the board of directors has had its intended effect.

The Purple Palace has now set a bid deadline of April 11, for expressions of interest in its core business, its stake in Yahoo! Japan, and Alibaba Group Holding.

As well as detailing financing and conditions for approval, bidders would have to detail any plans they might have to split the search business from the Asian assets.

As the Journal notes, satisfying Starboard might mean board members keep their jobs during the sale process, earning them the envy of the 15 per cent of staff Yahoo! recently announced it would axe.

As we noted in February, those cuts include office closures in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan, and the end of products such as Games and Smart TV.

As well as Verizon, which has already been named as a possible buyer for the once-successful Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web, the WSJ reckons IAC/InterActive, Time, and private equity firms TPG and KKR are looking over letters from Yahoo!'s bankers.

Microsoft gets a mention as a dark-horse bidder, the WSJ said in this piece, citing “a person familiar with the matter” as saying Redmond's “held discussions with private-equity firms about helping to finance a buyout”.

Microsoft's been there before: Steve Ballmer managed not to throw US$45bn at the company in 2008, despite trying mighty hard to add it to his collection of billion-dollar blunders. ®

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