Someone Should Just Go Ahead and Buy Yahoo!

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- News over the weekend from Reuters came out that co-founder Jerry Yang is interested in buying back Yahoo! ( YHOO) to take it private.

It's conveyable. Everything in the story rings true about Yang's potential interest, the likelihood of David Filo supporting his efforts to do so, and his private competitive streak despite his mild-mannered appearance.

Will it happen? I think it's a lower probability outcome. But that doesn't mean it isn't great news for Yahoo! long holders.

At the moment, there are at least a dozen potential bidding combinations for the company's assets. And the list just seems to keep growing by the day. Yang's interest just adds to the mix.

It means that some kind of deal is going to happen. If I had to guess, I would say it will happen before the end of the year.

Jack Ma is still the most important player in all of this. Any deal for Yahoo! must have his tacit approval. Therefore, all roads lead through Ma.

Yang, despite being a co-founder of the company in question, is a side player. His greatest argument is that he can be an informative advisor to a private equity consortium.

Believe it or not, that might be very attractive to some of the suitors.

Yang now only owns less than 4% of the company. His co-founder, Filo, has a stake almost double the size of Yang's. But Yang has always been the public face for Filo. I don't care if he did or didn't turn down Microsoft's ( MSFT) offer three years ago. All I care about is a deal happens now. And Yang pushing just adds to the sense of urgency for someone to buy this property.
At the time of publication, Eric Jackson was long YHOO.

Eric Jackson is founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd. In January 2007, Jackson started the world's first Internet-based campaign to increase shareholder value at Yahoo!, leading to a change in CEOs in 2007. He also spoke out in favor of Yahoo!'s accepting Microsoft's buyout offer in 2008. Global Proxy Watch named Jackson as one of its 10 "Stars" who positively influenced international corporate governance and shareowner value in 2007.

Prior to founding Ironfire Capital, Jackson was President and CEO of Jackson Leadership Systems, Inc., a leadership, strategy, and governance consulting firm. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance, and holds a B.A. from McGill University.

He was previously Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at VoiceGenie Technologies, a software firm now owned by Alcatel-Lucent. In 2004, Jackson founded the Young Patrons' Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is now the second-largest social and philanthropic group of its kind in North America, raising $500,000 annually for the museum. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at or @ericjackson.

You can contact Eric by emailing him at

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