Verizon Communications seems to be nearing a deal to buy Yahoo, beating out rival bidders, according to unconfirmed reports. Verizon is discussing a price close to $5 billion for Yahoo’s core internet business, Bloomberg says, citing an unnamed source. One of the people said that the deal doesn’t include the company’s patents at this stage. While other assets including Yahoo’s real estate were also on the block, it could not immediately be learned if they are part of the deal.
The companies may be ready to announce the deal in the coming days, but the agreement hasn’t been finalized and may still fall apart, the people said, asking not to be named because the deliberations are private.
A representative for Verizon declined to comment. A representative for Yahoo couldn’t immediately be reached.
A deal would boost Verizon's AOL internet business, which the company acquired last year for $4.4 billion, by giving it access to Yahoo's advertising technology tools, as well other assets such as search, mail, messenger and real estate.
The sale would also mark the end of Yahoo as an operating company, leaving it only as the owner of a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, as well as its 15 percent interest in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd . Those two stakes account for most of Yahoo's $37 billion market capitalization.
Other bidders for the Yahoo assets include AT&T; a consortium led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and backed by billionaire Warren Buffett; private equity firm TPG Capital LP; and a consortium of buyout firms Vector Capital and Sycamore Partners.
In December, Yahoo scrapped plans to spin off its Alibaba stake after investors fretted over whether that transaction could have been carried out on a tax-free basis. It instead decided to explore a sale of its core assets.