Another Day, Another Yahoo Rumor

Another day, another Yahoo! acquisition rumor? According to a terse report on Tuesday in the WSJ, ex-AOL CEO Jonathan Miller is trying to raise funds for a bid on Yahoo!, which may result in either a total or partial buyout of the company.

Unlike the last such rumor we reported on, which came from the Times Online, and didn't mention any sources, this one is from the Wall Street Journal, and at least mentions the normal "sources familiar with the situation."

Miller was CEO of AOL from 2002 to 2006. According to the WSJ sources, he has been trying to get this done through private-equity investors and sovereign-wealth funds for months.

While it seems as though Yahoo! needs some sort of rescue (though hardly as badly as the Big Three automakers), TechCrunch's take on the WSJ is that it's just another rumor. And part of the title of their story is "And This Time People Lost Money."

The implication there is made because of today's Yahoo! stock bump: up 7% to $11.50, and as high as $12.50 during the day after the WSJ story broke. TechCrunch's reasons for their dissing of the WSJ:

The two (Miller and Ross Levinsohn), along with their other partners at Velocity, have been busy trying to raise a new $300 million fund over the last year anyway. And so far, we understand, they’ve only received commitments for $150 million. So trying to simultaneously raise $30 billion to take over Yahoo seems more than far fetched.

Another reason the story makes no sense - Miller is bound by a non compete agreement with AOL that prohibits him from serving as an employee or board member to certain companies, including Yahoo.
TechCrunch also cites its own sources, as well as "basic common sense," the same thing that should have discounted the Times Online story (since Carl Icahn had just made a major buy of Yahoo! stock, insider trading fodder if a Microsoft deal was in the works).

So: who is right and who is wrong? New media, or mainstream (and respected) media? Time will tell.