Bloomberg reports that Google is currently in talks with a number of private equity firms and may fund a potential takeover, which could see a bidding war with Microsoft who has also expressed an interest in the struggling media agency.
Due to potential problems with regulations, Google, who already has a significant 65 per cent share in this particular sector, is not likely to bid directly for Yahoo!, who currently own a 14.7 per cent share in the market. However, a shadow bid would allow Google to gain even further ground over Microsoft, who has already formed an alliance with Yahoo! with its Bing search engine.
Despite a downturn in Yahoo’s fortunes over the past few years, which culminated with the sacking of CEO Carol Bartz in September, the company is still valued at $20bn and pulls in monthly audience figures of almost 700 million unique visitors.
Neither Microsoft nor Google, it seems, are interested in running Yahoo! directly, but by providing the financial backing both companies would be able to push forward with plans to further roll-out their communication and social-networking services, Skype and Google+.
Google is currently under review by the US Federal Trade Commission about its business practices and to ascertain whether it's a monopoly. Greg Sterling from Opus Research in San Francisco told Bloomberg: "If competition dissipates or diminishes, then the hand of regulators is strengthened. If competition is diminished or marginalised, then all the arguments about Google being a monopoly ring more true."
Google and Microsoft have both declined to comment on the Yahoo! bid.