The parent company of U.K. tabloid Daily Mail may make a bid for Yahoo’s news and media businesses. According to the WSJ, the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) has held discussions with several private equity firms to partner on an offer.
A DMGT confirmed the report in an emailed statement, writing, “Given the success of DailyMail.com and Elite Daily we have been in discussions with a number of parties who are potential bidders. Discussions are at a very early stage and that there is no certainty that any transaction will take place.”
If you only know the Daily Mail through its website’s singular blend of celebrity gossip, xenophobic rants, and “real” ghost sightings, then you might be wondering what it wants to do with Yahoo. The DMGT, however, is a conglomerate with a portfolio that pulls in annual revenue of almost £2 billion (about $2.8 billion).
Taking over Yahoo’s assets would boost DMGT’s U.S. expansion plan. In fact, when DMG Media (DMGT’s media unit) bought Elite Daily for a reported $47 million last year, its then-CEO for North America, Jon Steinberg, said the acquisition was to compete with Yahoo and AOL (owner of TechCrunch). In addition to the Daily Mail, the Mail Online, and Elite Daily, its media holdings include The Mail and Metro.
The WSJ reports that DMGT has already talked to about six private-equity firms, including General Atlantic.
After years of struggling to keep its core Internet business afloat, Yahoo has set April 18 (adding a week to its previous deadline) as its final day for preliminary offers. This might give it time to ward off an attempt by activist investor Starboard Value, which has criticized the slow pace of Yahoo’s sale process, to replace its board with its own candidates.
About 40 companies are reportedly interested in bidding for Yahoo’s assets and have already signed non-disclosure agreements. Other interested buyers include Verizon (which owns AOL, which, as mentioned, owns TechCrunch).