AT&T, Verizon vie for Yahoo as bids reportedly top $5B

AT&T (NYSE: T) appears to be giving Verizon (NYSE: VZ) a run for its money in the Yahoo sweepstakes.

Reuters reported this week that the nation's two largest mobile network operators are positioned to be on "a new shortlist of bidders" for Yahoo's core internet assets following a second round of offers. Verizon, which has widely been viewed as the most likely suitor, submitted an offer "at the low end of those received," Reuters said, lifting the prospects of other bidders.

Yahoo reportedly received multiple bids at or above $5 billion from unnamed parties, topping Verizon's offer of more than $3.5 billion. A group backed by Warren Buffett and led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert was among those submitting offers.

TPG Capital LP and a consortium of Bain Capital Private Equity and Vista Equity Partners Management LLC have also made offers, according to Reuters.

The pursuit of Yahoo by the two largest American wireless carriers underscores their aggressive strategies of expanding beyond traditional mobile services into the much broader world of media. AT&T last year closed on its $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, and later this year it will launch a three-tiered video service targeting users on mobile devices and other platforms. Verizon, meanwhile, spent $4.4 billion last year to acquire AOL and its media properties and continues to build out Go90, an OTT video offering focused heavily on mobile.

Yahoo's online assets are a particularly good fit for mobile carriers for a few reasons. Yahoo's mobile apps and websites draw some 600 million users per month, and the company owns the app analytics firm Flurry.

Perhaps most importantly, Yahoo claimed 2.9 percent of U.S. mobile ad revenues in 2015, according to estimates from eMarketer. So its online media properties coupled with its foothold in mobile advertising make it a very attractive asset for network operators looking to tap mobile marketing revenues as smartphone sales stall and ARPU flattens in a saturated U.S. market.

For more:
- read this Reuters article

Related articles:
Verizon well positioned as deadline arrives for Yahoo bids
Verizon the 'clear favorite' to win Yahoo's online assets
Barclays: Verizon and Yahoo 'not an inconceivable combination'
Verizon CEO confirms interest in acquiring Yahoo's assets
AT&T announces three DirecTV-branded video services for all devices, will launch in Q4

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