AOL-Verizon May Tempt Possible Buyers for Yahoo!
Now that AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is being acquired by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), the big question on Wall Street, Main Street and Cyber-Street has to be what this means for the likes of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO). After all, Yahoo is considered by many as the other remaining prize in online media besides AOL — and activists have continued beating their drums that they still want more than the tripling of Yahoo’s share price.
24/7 Wall St. has already shown what Verizon gets by acquiring AOL. We have also indicated how a higher price could work into the fold for AOL, even if Tim Armstrong has said he is committed to selling to Verizon. So, let’s think about what this could mean for Yahoo.
The first thing to consider is that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) is a factor for any Yahoo buyer. Companies do not want to pay up for a tracking stock or for a minority interest, and that has nothing to do with Alibaba doing well on its last earnings. Some investors have said that they view Yahoo’s more than $40 billion market cap as being 80% to 90% Alibaba — and then there is the Yahoo! Japan stake, which Yahoo already has indicated that it may unlock that value as well.
It is hard to value Yahoo on a standalone basis. Shareholders today could be getting big checks after the Alibaba tracking stock is issued, and then there is that Yahoo! Japan would-be bonus. The remaining part of Yahoo is viewed by analysts as profitable, but in a climate where organic growth is hard for everyone. Activists have pushed for an AOL-Yahoo combination, but perhaps another home might be welcome as well if the price is right.
Of course, Yahoo has many units from acquisitions that are of value: BrightRoll (online video ads), Flurry (mobile analytics), Tumblr (microblogging for multimedia and content), Summly (news aggregation), Interclick (ad tech) and quite literally dozens of more companies, platforms and app/software players.
As far as who might want Yahoo: Would Verizon dare to try to cobble together an AOL-Yahoo deal? It can certainly afford it. But what about the likes of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) or Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)? The opportunities are endless, but we are taking a look here more closely at each of these.