Daily Mail confims talks with potential Yahoo bidders

Internet pioneer Yahoo was recently accused of scanning messages at its email service for a snippet being sought by US authorities (AFP Photo/Karen Bleier) (AFP/File)

London (AFP) - The parent group behind British tabloid the Daily Mail revealed Monday that it is in talks with "a number of parties" over a potential bid for struggling US Internet giant Yahoo.

"Given the success of DailyMail.com and Elite Daily, we have been in discussions with a number of parties who are potential bidders" for Yahoo, a spokesman told AFP, confirming media reports.

"Discussions are at a very early stage and there is no certainty that any transaction will take place.

"We have no further comment at this time. Further updates will be provided as appropriate."

The Daily Mail newspaper and its globally popular online news website, as well as US website Elite, are owned by British media publishing giant Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT).

Sunday's Wall Street Journal had reported that DMGT was in discussions with a "wide" group of interested companies regarding a possible bid for Yahoo.

The WSJ, which cited people familiar with the matter, added that the "half a dozen" private equity firms to help finance a possible bid.

Struggling Yahoo has been briefing prospective buyers of its core assets, according to previous US media reports that indicated the list of suitors also included US telecommunications titan Verizon, Google-parent Alphabet, and Time Inc.

Yahoo has set an April 18 deadline for preliminary bids.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported Sunday that DMGT's potential Yahoo bid could take one of two forms.

In one, a private-equity firm would acquire Yahoo's core web business and merge its media and news properties with the Mail's global online operations. The merged units would form a new company that would be run by the Mail.

The other scenario would see the private-equity partner "aim to acquire the entirety of Yahoo’s core web business, with the Mail taking over the news and media properties", the WSJ said.

"Those assets include verticals such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports plus Yahoo News and a video operation whose big star is Katie Couric," it added.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who took over in 2012 with the mission of boosting growth, is in an increasingly difficult position.

Although Yahoo is one of the best-known names on the Internet and is used by around one billion people, it has fallen behind Google in Internet searches and has been steadily losing ground in online advertising.

While Mayer has injected some energy and glamour into the company, Yahoo's finances have failed to improve and its core operations are valued in the market as worthless, with the company's valuation propped up by its stakes in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.