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In Play Today: Yahoo short-lists close to 10 bidders for core Internet assets; Amazon considered buying startups to bolster fashion category

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In Play Today: Yahoo short-lists close to 10 bidders for core Internet assets; Amazon considered buying startups to bolster fashion category

SNL Kagan presents In PlayToday, a periodic summary of potential deal activity in the sector, includingrumored transactions. This summary is based on information obtained by SNLKagan and may not be inclusive of all potential deal activity. Send commentsand news leads to mali@snl.com.

Media

*Yahoo! Inc.'s shortlist of potential buyers for its core internet assets close to 10 bidders, most ofwhich proposed a cash deal, Reuters reported April 29, citing "peoplefamiliar with the matter." The short list mainly includes large companiesand private equity firms, such as VerizonCommunications Inc. and TPG Capital LP. Yahoo's advisers are stillkeeping close to the process some bidders that did not make the cut becausetheir first-round offers were not specific enough, such as Chairman JohnMalone, who proposed a tax-efficient merger with one of the companies he owns,Reuters added.

*Amazon.com Inc.considered ramping upits presence in the fashion category via acquisitions of startups such asEverlane, Le Tote, Rent The Runway, ThirdLove and PreeLine, TechCrunch.comreported April 14, citing multiple sources. A founder of one of the startupsreportedly approached by the online retailer said it is "losing big time"in apparel and is anxious to acquire brands.

*Sumner Redstone, chairman emeritus of ViacomInc., is againstthe sale of Viacom'sholdings in Paramount Pictures, The WallStreet Journal reported April 11, citing sources with knowledge of thematter. Soon after a plan to sell a stake in the studio was announced, Redstonecalled Paramount CEO Brad Grey and expressed displeasure about the potentialsale, according to the report. Additionally, Redstone told other people that hedoes not want to sell Paramount, sources reportedly said. Viacom CEO PhilippeDauman met earlier with Redstone to discuss the plan and thought he heard theexecutive agree to it, according to the Journal.Three dozen companies have expressedinterest in Paramount, including DMG Entertainment and , andSkydance Media.

*Daimler AG confirmedthat Amazon.com and MicrosoftCorp. were holding talkswith a consortium of German carmakers comprising the Mercedes-Benz parent, AudiAG and BMW Group to acquire minority stakes in the HERE digital mappingservice, The Wall Street Journalreported April 4. In an interview, Thomas Weber, a Daimler board member incharge of research and development, reportedly said the consortium is talkingto the tech giants along with many auto makers, while adding that they have yetto reach a decision. Additionally, Weber said the consortium requires theservices of a cloud provider to handle the data created by HERE and its users.

*Playboy Enterprises Inc.was rumored to have been looking for a potential buyer, the Journalreported March 24, citing sources close to the situation. Investment bankMoelis & Co., which is advising Playboy along with private-equity firmRizvi Traverse Management, could run an auction for Playboy. The storied magazinepublisher is reportedly expected to get more than $500 million via a potentialsale. The company, however, could decide to sell itself in parts or not opt fora sale at all. 

 

*Apple Inc. mulledplans to acquireImagination Technologies Group Plc, Bloomberg News reported March 22, citing aregulatory filing. The iPhone maker said it held talks with the chipmaker butdoes not plan to make an offer at this time. The acquisition could have helpedApple bolster its virtual reality offering, according to the report.

*Google Inc. isconsidering acquiringseveral cloud companies to boost its suite of workplace apps and grow itsenterprise business, Re/code reported March 18, citing sources familiar withthe discussions. The AlphabetInc. unit's preliminary list of potential acquisitions inenterprise reportedly includes Canadian e-commerce firm Shopify, which is saidto have a market cap of $2.25 billion, and human resources and employeebenefits app Namely, which raised $108 million in three funding rounds. Other firmson the list are automated app services startup Metavine, CallidusCloud andXactly. Companies on the list serve middle-market businesses, which Google isattempting to reach to expand its cloud business, according to the report.Further, the acquisitions would give Google the chance to move the acquisitions'internal systems to Google Cloud. According to sources, talks have not yetreached a formal stage.

*Alphabet mulled plansto sell Boston Dynamics, a Waltham, Mass.-based robotics company it in 2013, Bloomberg Newsreported March 17. The tech giant reportedly decided to divest Boston Dynamicsafter concluding that the unit is unlikely to create a marketable product inthe next few years. Possible buyers include Toyota Motor Corp.'s ToyotaResearch Institute and Amazon.com.

*Amazon.com mulled plansto acquire the corporate business unit of Office Depot, the New York Post reported March 16, citinga person with knowledge of the details. A potential deal could reportedly helpStaples secure approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to acquire theworkplace supply chain. The transaction would also allow Amazon.com to expandits Amazon Business footprint by using some of Office Depot's corporateaccounts, the sources said. One of the sources reportedly said that the onlineretail giant was also considering a bid for privately held W.B. Mason, the No.3 office supplier.

*Viacom, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.,Vivendi SA andEndemol Shine are reportedly among media companies that are potentiallyinterested inacquiring or investing in production company Anonymous Content. AnonymousContent, the production and management company behind movies such as "Spotlight,""Birdman" and "The Revenant," held talks with interestedparties, MarketWatch reported March 8, citing people familiar with the matter.Talks covered the sale of the entire company or of a minority stake. Thepossible buyers are reportedly looking to grow their production units,specifically in TV. The production company is working with Guggenheim Partnersand exploring strategic options, a spokeswoman for Anonymous reportedly said.Endemol Shine is a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and Apollo GlobalManagement.

*Microsoft consideredacquiring Slack, an enterprise messaging startup, for as much as $8 billion,TechCrunch.com reported March 4, citing a source familiar with the details. QiLu, executive vice president of apps and services at the software giant, hadpushed for the acquisition, but Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and CEO SatyaNadella were reportedly more interested in bolstering Skype with new featuresthan buying Slack. According to the report, Slack has 2.3 million daily activeusers, 675,000 of them paying.

SNL Kagan is an offering of S&P Global MarketIntelligence.