New player reportedly joins bidding for Yahoo

Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), which has been in a self-induced state of limbo since firing CEO Carol Bartz in September and putting itself up for sale, may have a new bidder.

Reuters reports that Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston-based private-equity firm, is considering making an offer for the foundering Internet company.

The company already has Dunkin' Brands Group, Univision, Nielsen Co. and radio-behemoth Clear Channel Communications in its portfolio.

If THL does decide to pursue Yahoo, it'll have some company; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), which in 2008 was spurned by Yahoo in a takeover bid, reportedly is looking to back a Silver Lake stake in Yahoo, and private-equity group TPG Capital, KKR & Co. and Blackstone Group all have expressed interest.

Reuters said the THL bid would likely be a leverage buyout. Most other bidders are looking to seek a minority share in the company.

Bids reportedly are due this week.

Yahoo has struggled as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Facebook have overshadowed it. Earlier this year, Yahoo was considered a serious candidate to acquire video aggregator Hulu, which reportedly began shopping itself after Yahoo showed interest. Hulu's parent companies in October decided against a sale.

Yahoo itself launched a slate of original online video content in October, looking to make hay with online video advertising. The eight short form shows were the first of several planned into 2012.

Yahoo has consistently been among the Top 10 online video properties, according to comScore, which said Yahoo sites saw 43.7 million unique viewers in October, who watched an average of 58.6 minutes of video. For the month, the sites had 551.7 million videos viewed.

For more:
- see this Reuters report

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