Still another private equity bidder may be eyeing a bid for Yahoo: Boston-based giant Thomas H. Lee Partners.
A pioneer in private equity, Thomas H. Lee may join other P/E prospects including Silver Lake Partners, and possibly Microsoft, Bloomberg reported, citing insiders.
Since Carol Bartz was fired as CEO of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo over Labor Day weekend, the search engine and media company has sought "strategic alternatives" with the advice of Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co.
Rather than auction itself, Yahoo, with enterprise value of $16.9 billion, is thought to be leaning toward a so-called PIPE or private-investors-in-public-equity deal, which would sell a minority stake to friendly outsiders.
Other P/E companies known to have signed non-disclosure agreements with Yahoo include TPG, formerly known as Texas Pacific Group, and Silver Lake. Others said to be interested include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, currently an investor in Eastman Kodak, and Blackstone Group.
Thomas H. Lee representatives declined comment. Founded in 1974, the firm has raised more than $22 billion in capital and invested in companies valued at more than $150 billion. Current media investments include Nielsen and Univision.
Earlier, Jack Ma, CEO of Chinese payment site Alibaba Group in which Yahoo has a 40 percent stake, said he would like to bid for the company. He reportedly obtained financing from Temasek Holdings, the Singapore state investment company. As well, New York activist investor Daniel Loeb has acquired a 5 percent stake in Yahoo via his Third Point fund and announced plans to buy more.
Yahoo is also seeking a new CEO to replace Bartz, 63, who remains lead director of Cisco Systems. Yahoo CFO Tim Morse as acting CEO.
Yahoo shares traded Tuesday at $15.87, up 52 cents. They have gained 23 percent since the Bartz firing.