Tension has been mounting in the past few weeks over who will end up buying up once-great internet firm Yahoo, now reportedly on its last legs, slashing moonshots and looking for a way out via sale. With their waning popularity driving advertisers away, another decisive blow was struck when AT&T went with another company to manage their web portal, a business that had brought in millions for Yahoo over the years. While Yahoo still manages email for AT&T, losing the web portal was just another in a long series of misfortunes that ended up bringing one of the earliest bastions of the web to its knees after over 20 years in the business.
While Verizon is still the front-runner in the bidding for Yahoo overall, AT&T is only looking to buy Yahoo's core business, which includes their video content, main web page and a number of other bits and pieces, but leaves out subsidiaries. If AT&T wants to acquire the core business, they will either have to compete with other bidders, or work something out with them. The latter is rather unlikely since one of the reasons that they want Yahoo is speculated to be in order to compete with rival and fellow bidder Verizon, who recently acquired AOL and used those resources and properties to launch their GO90 service, among other things.
While AT&T had decided not to bid earlier, they had a window to change their mind thanks to YP Holdings, an advertising firm that they have stake in and the publisher of the Yellow Pages phone book, being in on the bidding themselves. People close to the process are also saying that Yahoo is seeing bids between $4 billion and $8 billion from firms that don't know the business quite as well as other bidders, such as private equity firms. With AT&T adding their name to a list of bidders that already includes a rival carrier, a firm owned by the founder of Quicken and backed by Warren Buffett, and Liberty Media, the bidding war for Yahoo, once thought to be a shoe-in for Verizon, is looking to get fairly crazy as Yahoo begins to pick from potential suitors and narrow the field.