Daily Mail publisher in 'early stages' of talks to take over Yahoo backed by private equity

The company is under intense pressure to revive its revenue growth and shareholders are calling for a change in leadership

Caroline Mortimer@cjmortimer
Monday 11 April 2016 00:51
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Yahoo have said that they will stand behind Zhang
Yahoo have said that they will stand behind Zhang

The owner of the Daily Mail is in early discussions over a bid for the ailing US internet company Yahoo.

A spokesman for the DailyMail.com said that, given the success of that site and Elite Daily, it has "been in discussions with a number of parties who are potential bidders".

He said the talks are in a very early stage and there is no certainty any transaction will take place.

Yahoo could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company is under intense pressure to revive its revenue growth and activist investor Starboard Value, a big stakeholder, is pushing for a change in leadership.

Earlier this year Yahoo cut 15 per cent of its workforce - around 1,700 employees - and pull the plug on its streaming service which was supposed to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Starboard announced last month that it intended to overthrow CEO Marissa Mayer and the rest of the company's board.

Starboard Value have announced they plan to oust Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at the annual shareholders' meeting in June

They have announced nine alternative candidates to oppose Ms Mayer and Yahoo's other directors at the annual shareholder meeting scheduled to take place in June.

It is the third attempt coup at the top of the company since 2008, all led by shareholders who are furstrated with the attempts to revive the company's fortunes.

Shares in Yahoo have fallen by around 30 per cent since the end of 2014 despite more and more advertising money pouring into digital marketing - most of it going to the company's rivals Google and Facebook.

The Daily Mail is one of the 10 most visited newspaper websites in the world according to the Pew Research Center. Founded in 1896 by brothers Alfred and Harold Harmsworth, the newspaper has been a family run operation throughout its history. It has relied on a tabloid mix of conservative political views and celebrity gossip to drive sales, and has invested heavily in the internet.

In 2015, the group reported adjusted pretax profit of £281m on revenue of £1.85bn, with 49 percent of revenue coming from abroad.

Additional reporting by AP

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