According to press reports, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett is backing a consortium vying for Yahoo Inc.’s Internet assets that includes Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The multinational technology company Yahoo has been hemorrhaging over the years and has long been surpassed by the likes of Google for Internet users and advertising dollars.
The consortium’s interest in the Yahoo is also seen as a challenge to U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc., who has expressed an interest in bidding for the company.
Reuters reported last month that Yahoo had shortlisted close to 10 bidders in the auction for its assets, with most offers coming from private equity firms.
It also noted that at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting last month, Buffett admitted that Berkshire had been slow to adapt to new technology as far as its investments were concerned.
Susan Decker, who worked at Yahoo in several senior roles between 2000 and 2009, including president and chief financial officer, is now a director on Berkshire’s board.
“I hope the next owner can do something to revitalize the spirit of the core things that made Yahoo very, very unique and create a distinction in consumers’ minds about why they love Yahoo still. It will be helpful if it is private or part of a much larger corporation to achieve that,” she said on CNBC in an interview on April 29.
Last month, Yahoo said that activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP Chief Executive Jeffrey Smith and three independent directors associated with him would join its board immediately.
Yahoo’s four new directors were on a slate that Starboard had proposed to oust Yahoo’s entire board.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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