Boston firm may bid for Yahoo
The Boston private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is considering a bid for Yahoo Inc., two people with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.
The firm has not decided whether it will make an offer, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public.
Lee joins a growing list of companies sizing up Yahoo. Another private equity firm, Silver Lake, is working with Microsoft Corp. to bid for a minority stake in Yahoo, two other people said. Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm, may join the Silver Lake-led group, another person said.
Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is exploring options after firing chief executive Carol Bartz, who faltered in a drive to repel competition from Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. Yahoo’s advisers asked that bids be submitted this week, people close to the situation have said.
Thomas H. Lee Partners declined to comment. Its other investments include Dunkin’ Brands Group and Clear Channel Communications.
The private equity firm TPG Capital has signed a nondisclosure agreement to size up a possible bid, people close to the company have said. KKR & Co. and Blackstone Group LP are among others said to be considering bids.
Microsoft, rebuffed in a 2008 attempt to buy all of Yahoo, may join other investors to safeguard its Web-search partnership with Yahoo. The deal was aimed at helping both companies vie with Google, the leader in US search-related advertising.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s biggest e-commerce company, has said it is interested in acquiring Yahoo. With a holding of about 40 percent, Yahoo is Alibaba’s biggest investor.
Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, is an investor in Andreessen Horowitz.