Another day, another hare-brained scheme to buy Yahoo. This time, the player isn't Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but former AOL CEO Jon Miller, who now runs a venture-capital fund. But the prospect of a deal seems as far off and fanciful as Microsoft, which spent most of the spring and summer trying to buy Yahoo, coming back to the negotiating table. Miller wants to buy Yahoo, but is having trouble coming up with the money, the Wall Street Journal reports. Is there no one serious who wants to buy this company?
It's been a grindingly frustrating comedown for what was once the preeminent brand on the Web. Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $45 billion in February; the company is now worth a third of that. Miller would pay $28 billion to $30 billion for Yahoo, if he can raise that sum from sovereign wealth funds, the investment pools run by cash-flush Middle Eastern and Asian governments. They are understandably skittish at the idea of paying twice the going rate for a stake in Yahoo.
The notion is that Miller would run the show, and thereby make money for his investors. Fired as AOL's CEO in 2006, Miller has been rehabilitating his reputation as an investor ever since. (He's been amply helped by his replacement, former NBC executive Randy Falco, who has proved to be a thoroughly useless corporate stooge.) But Miller did not demonstrate at AOL what Yahoo so desperately needs: a keen product vision, and a ruthless determination to get his way with dithering engineers.
It's pathetic, really, that Yahoo hasn't yet been sold or found a CEO to replace hapless founder Jerry Yang. The company's traffic is still immense. And it's big in Japan! Someone, somewhere ought to think that Yahoo is worth saving. That Miller is the best Yahoo can find speaks volumes