We all know Marissa needs some help selling what's left of Yahoo (YHOO) without cutting the Alibaba (BABA) chord and blowing the whole thing to purple smithereens, especially if she wants to make her golden parachute inflate by like 400%.
But who will sail in and use actual money to take on the part of Yahoo that does contain Flickr but doesn't contain a single share of Alibaba stock? Who has the vision to navigate through the miasma of Mayer's reign and put a fair value on Yahoo? Who can bring this ship safely to shore and get Marissa even more paid?
Yahoo’s core business might fit with Barry Diller’s menagerie. The company said on Wednesday that it was scrapping plans to spin off its stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and that it might instead separate out its division that houses search, advertising and the like. Mr. Diller’s IAC/InterActive, with assorted online endeavors, could be a logical home, as might Verizon, the owner of AOL.
Shut up about Verizon though, it already has its own broken search/media giant.
What was that about Captain Barry Diller?
Yahoo would probably fit right in with IAC’s various aging Internet businesses. They include Ask.com – formerly Ask Jeeves, a Yahoo competitor – About.com and CityGrid. IAC said on Wednesday that it was creating IAC Publishing, which it called a “new digital operating entity” that would combine online brands like The Daily Beast and About.com to reach an estimated 100 million monthly customers in the United States. Yahoo has 200 million visitors, according to the Internet tracking company comScore.
No one monetizes basic eyeballs like Barry and, as Reuters points out, he could get the thing for like $3 billion. That's a sharp discount form the almost $45 billion Microsoft was going to pony up before the financial crisis and IAC (IACI) has some extra cash laying around after its successful Match Group (MTCH) IPO.
Speaking of Match Group though, if Marissa wants Barry to help her get that nine figure payout, she'd be wise to not give any crazy interviews in the next few weeks.
Reverse Spin [Reuters BreakingViews]