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Yahoo Bidders Narrow to Verizon, Handful of Others (Reports)

The Internet giant is in daily discussions to sell off its core business

The short list of bidders for Yahoo’s core business has winnowed down from as many as three dozen to a handful or two.

Telecom giant Verizon is set to advance to the second stage of bidding, according to reports from Reuters and Recode. Verizon has long been reported as a front runner in the process.

Recode also reported that private equity firm TPG has thrown its hat into the ring, as did private equity firms Bain Capital and Vista Equity Partners together with a coalition of former Yahoo execs, including one-time interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, ex-media executive Ken Fuchs and former ad executive Bill Wise.

Reuters said other interested parties included AT&T-backed Yellow Pages owner YP LLC and Japanese online retailer Rakuten, although the latter ended up not making an offer. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Reuters report noted several private equity firms that made first-round bids, including Apax Partners, TPG, Bain, Apollo Global Management and Warburg Pincus.

Since CEO Marissa Mayer took the company’s helm in 2012, the one-time Internet giant has been under intense scrutiny to reinvent itself for the mobile age. But Mayer’s strategies, like pricey start-up takeovers, amped-up news and video content and a portfolio of new apps, haven’t translated to meaningful growth, resulting in the bidding process whereby the company could end up selling itself.

Tuesday, as Yahoo reported its adjusted profit in the first three months of the year fell slightly less than Wall Street had feared, Mayer said executives are meeting daily about how to sell or spin off Yahoo.