Yahoo! Edges Closer to Sale: Report

SUNNYVALE, Calif. ( TheStreet) - Rumors of a possible Yahoo! ( YHOO) sale continue to swirl, with Reuters reporting that the Web giant has signed confidentiality agreements with several parties interested in buying all or part of the company.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters said that the agreements offer potential buyers such as private equity firms an opportunity to closely scrutinize Yahoo!'s finances.
Rumors of a possible Yahoo! sale continue to swirl.

Yahoo! declined to comment on the report when contacted by TheStreet, although it seems likely that any agreements could extend beyond private equity suitors.

Recent rumors, for example, have pointed to a number of parties interested in Yahoo!, including investors and partners. This raises the possibility that a host of companies could be involved in confidentiality agreements.

Strategic buyers allegedly looking at Yahoo! include Google ( GOOG), which is reportedly speaking with private equity firms to help finance a deal, and Microsoft ( MSFT), which attempted to buy the Web giant for $44 billion in 2008.

Another name that has emerged as a possible suitor is Alibaba, which, like Microsoft, is already closely entwined with Yahoo! The Chinese Web giant's CEO, Jack Ma, has said that he's "very interested" in buying Yahoo!, a deal which would significantly boost the firm's presence in the U.S. market.

Yahoo! launched a strategic review in September, with the firm's board vowing to explore various options for the company's future.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm's recent deal to buy Interclick ( ICLK), however, has been cited as possible evidence that Yahoo! strategic review may not yield a full company sale.

Yahoo! shares closed down 24 cents, or 1.55%, to $15.24 on Friday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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