This week marked the deadline for potential suitors to offer bids which included telecommunications providers Verizon Communications, AT&T Inc., a Warren Buffett backed group led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, and a number of private equity firms.
Now a new report from Bloomberg suggests that, of the five formal bidders, Verizon is the most likely acquirer, with an estimated price tag of $5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
With the wireless industry maturing, Verizon has been buying up internet and advertising technology companies, including AOL, and presenting itself as the best bet to take on Google and Facebook Inc. in mobile advertising. Yahoo has millions of users, a collection of websites including Flickr, Tumblr and Yahoo Finance and Sports and some useful digital-ad tech like Flurry and BrightRoll. Together with AOL, the new Yahoo under Verizon may have a better chance of competing in a digital ad market dominated by two big players.
It’s expected that CEO Marissa Mayer could announce a final deal as soon as next week.
Shares in Yahoo and Verizon both nudged up slightly following the report.