Yahoo exploring sale of $1 bn to $3 bn worth of assets

Yahoo Inc is exploring the sale of $1 billion to $3 billion of patents, property and other "non-core assets," its chief financial officer said yesterday.

According to Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman, who spoke at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, a committee created to explore alternatives to the company's plan for spinning off its core business was looking at quick sales of assets.

Patents, land, property and "non-core units or businesses" were all on the table for potential sale, and the company had sold or licensed over $600 million in patents over the last three years, he added.

Yahoo comes under increasing pressure from shareholders and investors to sell its core business rather than going through a spinoff that would separate the company from its multibillion-dollar stakes in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Media reports had been rife in recent weeks that Time Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and several other suitors had emerged as potential buyers.

Without confirming the reports, Goldman said the committee was ''aligned to see what best created shareholder value.''

Meanwhile, a report by the New York Post's Claire Atkinson and James Covert said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was secretly pitching a "package deal" that would sell Yahoo's core business under the condition that she remained CEO.

According to the report, the deal was being pitched by Frank Quattrone, the famous banker Mayer had hired, the report said. It did not reveal the number of interested parties in the Mayer-Quattrone deal.

Goldman, during a talk at a tech conference held yesterday, told investors that the reports of a rift were baseless.

"I want to make it very clear that between management, Marissa, myself, the rest of the management team, and the committee, and the board, we're actually all aligned in terms of what creates the best shareholder value, and that will be the ultimate criteria of what we end up doing," Goldman said.

"I want to make it very clear the Strategic Review Committee has hired advisors. Those are the only advisors that are working on our collective behalf relative to the spin work and strategic alternative work period," he continued.