After all, few digital players possess Yahoo's 1 billion monthly active users and online traffic magnets such as Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Finance. Those are big draws for possible buyers, including media, telecommunications and financial players.
Let's take a closer look at who might want to purchase all or part of the Sunnyvale, California-based company and why. Investors had priced the company in recent months as if its core business was worth zero.
Time Inc. (TIME). The magazine empire founded nearly nine decades ago reportedly is the latest and most surprising company to consider joining forces with Yahoo. According to Bloomberg News, Time CEO Joseph Ripp, who is trying to reinvent the company for the digital age, decided to pursue the deal after investment bankers from Citigroup (C) pitched the idea to him.
However, Ripp has yet to hire any financial advisors, as companies typically do ahead of an acquisition, and pulling off such a transaction won't be easy. For one thing, Time's market capitalization is only $1.5 billion, compared with $30 billion for Yahoo. Moreover, like other traditional media companies, Time remains dependent on print advertising, a declining business. A spokesman for Citigroup declined to comment. Time didn't respond to an email.
Verizon Communications (VZ). Rumors of a tie-up between AOL, now owned by Verizon, and Yahoo have circulated for years. Lowell McAdam, CEO of the telecom giant, has publicly acknowledged his company's interest in buying Yahoo and merging it with AOL, which it acquired last year for $4.4 billion. Verizon is pushing deeper into producing Internet content as growth in the company's core wireless business has slowed.
IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI). The company controlled by billionaire Barry Diller owns a range of Internet properties, including search engine Ask.com and news site The Daily Beast. IAC last year created IAC Publishing, an entity that could combine The Daily Beast and About.com, among others, which would reach an estimated 100 million people. When it comes to selling ads, the bigger the audience, the better.
News Corp (NWS). Like other traditional media companies, the publishing arm of Rupert Murdoch's media empire has struggled to adjust to the digital age. Adding Yahoo would greatly expand News Corp's audience. Revenue at the New York-based company, whose marquee properties include The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, has slumped for four straight quarters as gains in digital advertising haven't offset declines in its print businesses.
TPG. The private equity firm, which has more than $70 billion in assets, prides itself on knowing how to "recognize value -- or the potential for value -- where others cannot see it." TPG's media investments include film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Evolution Media, producer of the hit reality shows "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and "The Real Housewives of Orange County."