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Yahoo co-founder is trying to buy back the firm

With help from a few friends
Mon Oct 10 2011, 11:07

STRUGGLING INTERNET GIANT Yahoo is being spiffed up for a private equity buyout.

Yahoo, which fired its CEO last month, has seen its share price fall so far that there has been rampant talk of a takeover. Now Reuters is reporting that Yahoo's co-founder Jerry Yang is working behind the scenes to engineer a buyout with private equity groups that would see the company taken off the stock market.

Yang, who famously rebuffed Microsoft's offer to buy Yahoo for $33 a share, will now have to raise around $20bn in order to buy back what was once his firm. According to Reuters, Yang and fellow co-founder David Filo would have to turn over their share of the company - around 9.5 per cent - as part of any deal.

Yahoo being bought out by Yang represents the best chance for the former CEO to retain some say in the company he co-founded. While his decision back in 2008 to decline Microsoft's seemingly generous buyout offer marginalised him with employees and fellow executives, Yang still has some supporters within the firm.

One former Yahoo executive told Reuters, "The Microsoft decision really split the company, with many feeling that Jerry's decision was bad for them personally because he left a lot of money on the table."

In recent weeks Microsoft's name has once again been thrown in the ring as a possible suitor for Yahoo, however it is not alone. Financial institutions and Yahoo's Asian partner Alibaba have signalled their interest to pick up what is still one of the internet's most recognised brands.

Yang's considerable stake in Yahoo might help him not only convince private equity groups to fund the takeover, but also keep him on as an executive to try to turn the company around. µ


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