As Yahoo Seeks To Raise $1B In Cash, Rumor Suggests Sale Of Search Assets
Company trying to determine what it can sell without harming a strategic capability.
Following a mixed financial performance in Q4 2015, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced that the company would “explore divesting nonstrategic assets of value.” She said that such asset sales “could generate significant cash in excess of $1 billion.”
Earlier today, Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman told a Morgan Stanley Technology conference that the company was going to sell “$1 billion to $3 billion of patents, property and other ‘non-core assets,'” according to a Reuters report.
Separately, a rumor surfaced that Yahoo was exploring a sale of its “search business.” According to financial news site CTFN, “Buyers for Yahoo’s internet search business began receiving non-disclosure agreements last week.”
It’s not entirely clear what this means. Yahoo’s “search business ” is a mix of Bing and Yahoo technology and content (with a bit of Google thrown in at the margins). Yahoo’s Gemini platform provides advertising across PC and mobile platforms and delivers both search and native ads. It’s unlikely that Yahoo would part with Gemini. Beyond Gemini, it’s not clear what the company would sell.
In addition, search was identified explicitly as one of Yahoo’s “core assets.” During the Q4 earnings call, Mayer discussed a restructuring of both Yahoo’s consumer and advertising businesses. She said that advertising assets would be organized into two divisions: Gemini and BrightRoll. The consumer business will be streamlined around seven offerings: search, mail, tumblr, news, sports, finance and lifestyle content.
For these many reasons, the rumor that Yahoo is selling “search” is almost certainly incorrect. More likely is a sale of the entire company to a private equity buyer or one of the several media companies that have been rumored to be interested.