Yahoo! Searching for a future

If Yahoo! had its own personal profile on Facebook, its relationship status on the social network would read “It’s complicated”. Two months after booting out Carol Bartz, its chief executive, the internet giant is flirting with a number of investors and firms that would love to get their hands on some or all of its assets. At the same time, Yahoo! is still keeping the option open to go it alone. On November 8th the company struck an online-advertising alliance with Microsoft and AOL, another web firm, in its latest bid to bolster its fortunes.As one of the web’s best-known brands is searching for a future, it offers a spectacle that involves huge war chests and equally inflated egos. Among the potential suitors are some of the world’s most prominent private-equity groups, including TPG Capital, Providence Equity Partners and Silver Lake Partners. Google, Microsoft and other big tech companies are also said to be sniffing around the firm, as are other investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, an ambitious venture-capital outfit. Jack Ma, the effervescent boss of Alibaba, a prominent Chinese internet firm in which Yahoo! has a stake of roughly 40%, is also keen to buy his American partner.

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