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Microsoft! among! suitors! hungry! for! small! bite! of! Yahoo!

Ailing web firm looks to avoid investor consult

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Yahoo! has taken bids for a less than 20 per cent stake in the firm, to supply the ailing web company with cash while avoiding a shareholder vote.

A group of investors including private equity firm Silver Lake and one-time suitor Microsoft have offered around $16.60 a share for the stake, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

That offer would value the company at $20.6bn, around half of what the Redmond firm offered for the whole company just a few years ago.

The Microsoft collective is looking to take on around 10 to 15 per cent of the firm, the people said.

Their price was less than the offer made by private equity firm TPG Capital, they added.

Yahoo! can offload a stake of under 20 per cent without having to consult its shareholders, probably something it's quite keen on considering the amount of flak disappointed investors have given the firm and its board as it continues to fail to restore itself to its former glory.

Some shareholders believe that co-founder Jerry Yang should have sold to Microsoft for the $40bn+ when he had the chance and haven't been inclined to forgive and forget while the board tries to work out if it should hand over a small stake or the whole company.

A wide range of firms are rumoured to have an interest in Yahoo!, whether in bits and pieces or its entirety, including China's Alibaba Group and a raft of private equity outfits. ®

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