The Carlyle Group has been identified as one of several private equity firms circling Yahoo (YHOO), but its interest seems tepid at best.
That was the message on Friday from Jim Attwood, head of Carlyle’s media and telecom group, during a keynote interview I conducted during the Yale School of Management’s annual private equity conference.
Attwood acknowledged that virtually every large PE firm is taking a look at Yahoo, and that there is some appeal in trying to turn around the former high-flier. More broadly, however, he wondered how much value the company really has once you strip out the Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group positions. I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something to the effect of: “I’m not sure if what’s left would be worth buying.”
For what it’s worth, the latest reports are that Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR) and TPG Capital may buy minority stakes in Yahoo, as a way of getting their feet in the door.
Attwood also commented on Insight Communications, the nation’s 10th-largest cable TV operator, which Carlyle recently agreed to sell to Time Warner (TWX) for approximately $3 billion in cash. Specifically, he disputed media reports that Carlyle had been seeking between $3.5 billion to $4 billion. Attwood argued that TW was the natural buyer, and that the pricing reports had been incorrect. Rather than $3.5 billion to $4 billion, Carlyle had been seeking between $3b and $3.5b. Still makes the sale to Time Warner a bit low, but by a smaller margin.
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