Several private equity firms have approached Internet and media companies including News Corp and AOL to gauge their interest in buying out Yahoo, a source with knowledge of the approaches said.
The news comes as Yahoo, the No.2 search engine in the United States behind Google Inc , struggles to revive its revenue growth under the management of Chief Executive Carol Bartz, and to rebuild its buzz among consumers amid competition from social networking sites such as Facebook.
A potential deal would be contingent on Yahoo selling its prized Asian assets, including a 40 percent stake in China's Alibaba Group and 34.5 per cent of Yahoo Japan, the source told Reuters on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because discussions were not public.
Talks with News Corp and AOL began about two weeks ago and intensified in recent days, but Yahoo had not yet been approached as talks were still in their early stages, the source said.
Yahoo shares, which finished Wednesday up nearly 6 percent, gained another 9.5 per cent to $16.71 in extended trading. Shares in Alibaba.com and Yahoo Japan rose in Asia trading.
Speculation of private equity interest in Yahoo, which is also struggling to stem an exodus of senior executives to rivals, has surfaced sporadically in past months.
Silver Lake Partners was among the firms in very preliminary, recent discussions about acquisition scenarios, a second source with knowledge of the matter said.
Blackstone had also been pitched the idea but was not currently working on a Yahoo deal, a separate source said.
News Corp, AOL, and Yahoo declined comment.
City A.M. Reporter