While the board of directors at Yahoo may be considering an outright sale of the company that hasn’t stopped acquisition rumors from surfacing in which the company could spend billions of dollars to acquire the Weather Channel and WebMD Health Corp. properties.
According to reports the company is interested in owning the properties as part of a tax-efficient asset swap with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Softbank Corp.
Yahoo currently has a market value of $19.4 billion with $14 billion coming from their stake in Alibaba. Analysts in the meantime believe WebMD to have a market value of $2.2 billion.
As part of the asset swap Alibaba could purchase the Weather Channel and then exchange that property for a stake of the Alibaba owned portion from Yahoo. Softbank would then use WebMD as part of the exchange to acquire the 35 percent stake in Yahoo’s Japan joint venture.
At this time Yahoo and its Asian partners are not in talks to purchase the Weather Channel from Comcast Corp., however a deal is said to be complex because of the number of parties involved in the process.
Yahoo, Weather Channel and WebMD representatives are failing to disclose any information at this time.
According to BusinessWeek with Scott Thompson now in the CEO drivers seat at Yahoo the company could also look to acquire other popular destination based websites including Bankrate Inc., TripAdvisor Inc and InfoSpace Inc. among other smaller and mid-sized properties.
In the meantime WebMD is currently working with Credit Suisse to explore a sale option which in turn could drive up the price of an acquisition and therefore complicate a tax-friendly swap among the organizations.
Do you think WebMD and the Weather Channel in the hands of Yahoo! Inc. is a smart decision?