It takes only a glimmer of hope to excite Yahoo shareholders these days.
SAN FRANCISCO — It takes only a glimmer of hope to excite Yahoo shareholders these days.
Investors bid up shares in Yahoo by 7 percent on Tuesday after The Wall Street Journal reported that Jonathan Miller, the former chief executive of AOL, had been talking to private equity and sovereign wealth funds to raise $28 billion to $30 billion to buy Yahoo. That would work out to $20 to $22 a share; Yahoo’s stock closed up 76 cents at $11.50.
People in private-equity circles said that Miller had indeed discussed possible options for Yahoo on and off since he left AOL two years ago. (Miller, now a partner at Velocity Interactive Group, a venture-capital firm, did not respond to a request for comment.)
But they also said that a private buyout of Yahoo was highly unlikely, given the daunting environment for deal-making and the amount of debt that such a large deal would almost certainly require.
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“I would think this would be a very hard number to raise even in an effervescent financial market,” said Roger McNamee, a co-founder of Elevation Partners, a private equity firm in Silicon Valley.
“In the current market, where there does not appear to be any debt available for any cause, let alone Yahoo, I think this has to be viewed as a longshot.”
Last weekend, The Times of London reported that Miller was working on a deal with Microsoft to buy Yahoo’s search business. All parties denied that report.