Daily Mail Emerges As Dark Horse Buyer Of Yahoo

To be clear, Verizon looks to nearly have the Yahoo purchase locked up and it would take quite a bid to dislodge the progress Verizon has made in speaking to Yahoo about a sale in Early summer. However, they are not alone and The Daily Mail, which has a strong online presence, it’s throwing its hat in the figurative ring.

Daily Mail’s online success and Yahoo’s failings, a good mix?

Beyond Verizon and about three dozen others that would look to take over all of Yahoo including its core businesses, The Daily Mail’s parent company is in talks with private equity firms in the hopes of raising sufficient funds to pry Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance and its video property led by everyone’s favorite, Katie Couric.

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Whether the Daily Mail envisions merging its operations with these news aspects of Yahoo’s business or purchase them outright is anyone’s guess at present. But surely, they are a dark horse. While that may be the case, they do sound serious about the acquisition, serious enough that they are comfortably talking about it the public forum.

A spokesman to the DailyMail.com said yesterday that owing to the successes of its online properties (Elite Daily and DailyMail.com), the the company has “been in discussions with a number of parties who are potential bidders.” The spokesman quickly pointed out that we are talking about very early stages.

Not surprisingly, those comments were made to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the story.

Marisa Mayer has run Yahoo into the ground?

I don’t know that that is a fair assessment of her work at Yahoo. This was a company that went through CEOs in a manner somewhat reminiscent of how Chelsea Football Club goes through managers, almost a revolving door of stewardship. The took over a flailing, under-performing company, made a few massive acquisitions and never seemed to right the ship. But that, quite simply, is not doing it for activist fund and major shareholder, Starboard Value, which is calling for a change and leadership and while they’re at it, a new board.

Company’s doing well, rarely cut 1,700 employees, about 15% of its workforce as Yahoo did earlier this year. Most of those employees worked in areas of Yahoo that Mayer has deemed unsupportable and a weight around the ankles of Yahoo as it looks to tread water before once again swimming with the other big fish.

While Starboard is calling for Mayer’s head on a platter, and has put forth a slate of nine candidates to replace Mayer and the board when the annual shareholder meeting is convened in June; this is nothing new as different shareholders have tried to shakeup Yahoo three times in just the last decade.

You can understand, Starboard’s frustration with Mayer. Not only has Yahoo lost over 30% of its share price since Mayer took over, but its lost money while advertisers have essentially open the spigot on digital marketing and Yahoo is barely allowed to drink at the big kids’ table that has Google and Facebook taking the ends and heads of the table.

Daily Mail is a successful “rag?”

For what it’s worth, most of my friends simply scoff at the Daily Mail and speak of the “rag” that is The Sun highly when comparing the two. The Mail is somewhere between a conservative political mouthpiece and a source of celebrity gossip. A tabloid with a political agenda with no scantily clad women on Page 3 to rival the Sun.

That said, according to the Pew Research Center, the Daily Mail’s website is among the top 10 visited in the world, and the UK doesn’t have a huge population by any means. It just makes money with 2015 pretax profits coming in around 281 million pounds on sales of 1.85 billion.

“Given the group’s financial strength, we are well placed to take advantage of the changes sweeping through the media and business information markets,” Chairman Harold Harmsworth said in the group’s 2015 annual report.