|Yahoo is officially in play:|
Yahoo Is Said to Look to Allen & Co. for Strategic Options
By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED
New York Times
September 9, 2011, 12:02 pm
2:47 p.m. | Updated
As it explores options for its future, Yahoo has hired Allen & Company as its investment bank, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The move by Yahoo’s board follows its firing of Carol A. Bartz as chief executive, amid dissatisfaction over the onetime Internet giant’s business performance.
In its news release announcing Ms. Bartz’s ouster on Tuesday, Yahoo disclosed that its board had begun “a comprehensive strategic review” of its businesses. Within the language of the deal community, that phrase generally means possible acquisitions or asset divestitures — or possibly a sale of the whole company.
But people familiar with the board’s actions say that a sale of all of Yahoo is a “nonstarter.” What could be more likely are the sales of Yahoo’s Asian holdings or some of its communications services.
Helping to review those possibilities is Allen & Company, the boutique known as a top consigliere to Internet and media companies. Among its current clients is AOL, itself the subject of takeover rumors.
The bank is also serving a lesser underwriting role for two forthcoming Internet initial public offerings, those of Groupon and Zynga.
Yahoo’s board may also look to hire additional bankers to work alongside Allen & Company. Among the likely candidates is UBS, which is already advising Yahoo on a possible sale of its stake in Yahoo Japan. Another possible candidate is JPMorgan Chase, which could be brought in for its expertise in tech deals and its big balance sheet.
“Yahoo has been working with Allen & Co. and UBS for some time,” a spokesman for the company’s board told DealBook in a statement.
The first task that Allen & Co. may have to deal with is handling unsolicited deal inquiries. AOL’s chief executive, Tim Armstrong, has held discussions with Yahoo advisers about the company’s interest in merging, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.
A person close to Yahoo told DealBook that the company has no interest in merging with AOL, given that it’s another struggling Internet company.