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Yahoo Bidders Come in at $16.50 to $17.50, With Plan to Keep Jerry Yang on Board

Last night, Yahoo’s board gathered for a pre-meeting dinner, a precursor to a day-long meeting today to weigh several bids from private equity firms to buy part of the Silicon Valley Internet giant, including Silver Lake and TPG Capital.

Among the thorniest of issues will be the low price that the firms want to pay for a 19.9 percent stake in the company. Silver Lake has offered $16.50 and TPG a dollar more.

In the past year, Yahoo! share prices have seen a low of $11.09 and a high of almost $19. It closed yesterday at $15.70 — a price that is mostly due to sale rumors — making the offers not much of a gain on current market valuation.

The transaction type being contemplated is called a PIPE — or a Private Investment in Public Equity — with the investment below 20 percent, which allows Yahoo to avoid a shareholder vote on the issue.


Major Yahoo stakeholders are already irked by the PIPE idea itself, which could transfer power to private equity firms at preferential terms.

Another possible bone of contention will be the preservation of at least some parts of Yahoo’s current board.

Under a plan by Silver Lake, for example, it would get three board seats, as well as another one for a CEO of its choosing. Another seat will go to Yahoo co-founder and current board member Jerry Yang. There will be six independent board members, but it is not clear if they would be new or include some current directors.

One of the Silver Lake choices would be well-known Silicon Valley legend Marc Andreessen, who is now a powerful VC. The appeal of Andreessen is important to some major shareholders who have turned sour on Yang.


Sources said Yahoo — which has thus far rejected such efforts in the past — might consider selling a part of their shares back, up to half. This would allow the company to give a cash dividend to its disgruntled shareholders.
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