Yahoo chairman Maynard Webb said the company is exploring “qualified strategic proposals” after the company announced it is cutting 15 percent of its staff and reported $1.27 billion in revenue.
“The Board also believes that exploring additional strategic alternatives, in parallel to the execution of the management plan, is in the best interest of our shareholders,” Webb’s full comment said in the letter to investors. “Separating our Alibaba stake from our operating business continues to be a primary focus, and our most direct path to value maximization. In addition to continuing work on the reverse spin, which we’ve discussed previously, we will engage on qualified strategic proposals.”
A number of potential buyers were named late in the day, including Comcast, Silver Lake AT&T and Verizon. Verizon already owns AOL, a similar one-time tech giant that fell behind in recent years.
Buying Yahoo may fit into their larger strategy, or Verizon may have already had their fill of aging internet companies.
The sale of assets could bring Yahoo more than $1 billion, with some of its more well-known properties like Tumblr pulling in a good chunk of that total, according to CEO Marissa Mayer. However, she still believes in Yahoo’s potential for turning things around.
“Today, we’re announcing a strategic plan that we strongly believe will enable us to accelerate Yahoo’s transformation,” said Mayer, who was named CEO in 2012 and has attempted to institute many restructurings. “This is a strong plan calling for bold shifts in products and in resources.”
In 2008, Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion, but the deal later fell apart. Microsoft and Yahoo later went on to form a search alliance, but that deal has withered over time. Last October, Yahoo inked a search deal with Google. At that time that the Microsoft bid collapsed, then Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said that the company could continue with the “most important transition in our history.”
While a potential sale may come down the road, right now Yahoo is laying off 15 percent of the workforce, including 9,000 employees and less than 1,000 contractors. The company is closing five offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan, with a plan of saving about $400 million per year.
Yahoo is now valued at $28 billion, with a stock price that has declined 34 percent in the past year.