updated 07:05 pm EST, Mon November 28, 2011
Microsoft involvement in Yahoo said small at most
Microsoft's rumored new attempt at buying Yahoo might just be a minority, non-exclusive stake, insiders reportedly slipped out Monday night. The Windows developer would be just one of multiple companies, including financial backers at Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz, aiming to buy a 20 percent stake in Yahoo. The New York Times in leaking details understood that offers had to be in by the end of Monday and could be discussed this week.
Other, mostly private equity-based firms could be involved.
Yahoo is thought to have backed off of letting a company buy it outright and instead changing its position to let a minority stake carry enough sway. After a 20 percent stake sale, the firm would take on debt to buy some of its shares back and give more control.
Any deal stops short of Microsoft controlling Yahoo, but it would serve as a way to hold on to a fragile share of the search business. Much of Bing's current share has come from Yahoo's agreement to use Bing as its main search engine. Yahoo selling some or all of itself to someone else could be dangerous for Microsoft, both by losing its place in web search and by making the hundreds of millions lost each quarter for nothing.
Microsoft may see a stake in Yahoo as a way of getting more official support for Flickr and its mobile media apps. Yahoo currently has little support for Windows Phone, but ample help for iOS and Android.
None of the involved partnies has commented on the latest tips.