As bidding for Yahoo comes down to the wire, reports say that Microsoft will indeed be among the suitors and that Web browser pioneer Marc Andreessen is considering taking on the task of executive chairman at Yahoo as part of an offer.
The New York Times' DealBook blog reported a consortium of investors led by Silver Lake and Microsoft is among several groups submitting bids for a minority stake in Yahoo today. The Times, which cited "people briefed on the matter," also reported that Yahoo's financial advisers, Allen & Company and Goldman Sachs, set the end of business today as the deadline for bids for a minority piece of the company.
Separately, AllThingsD reported that Andreessen was contemplating taking the executive chairman role at Yahoo as part of a bid that would include his Andreessen Horowitz venture firm. Andreessen Horowitz is bidding with the Silver Lake group, according to the report. The firm previously teamed with Silver Lake on its acquisition of Skype, and then on the sale of that company to Microsoft.
The AllThingsD report suggests that Andreessen has significant concerns about playing a major role at Yahoo. He seems uncertain about future growth prospects, worried about the work required to fix Yahoo's many problems, and concerned about the impact his role might have on his friend and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.
According to the reports, the company is focused on considering bids for minority pieces of the company. According to the Times, the company would then borrow to finance a stock buyback. Given than about 10 percent of the company is still held by Yang and co-founder David Filo, the deal for 20 percent of the company, coupled with the buyback, would give the winning investor group a majority holding.
The Times said that TPG Capital is also expected to submit a bid proposal, and that other offers could come from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, THL Partners and Hellman & Friedman. And it reported that Yahoo's Chinese Internet partner Alibaba--which Yahoo still owns a 40 percent stake in--is talking with private equity firms about putting together an offer for the entire company.