Yahoo is less than 24 hours away from its deadline for first-round takeover bids, but its number of potential suitors has lessened substantially.
The Wall Street Journal on Sunday night reported that Google parent Alphabet (GOOG), AT&T (T), IAC/Interactive Corp. (IACI) and Fortune parent Time Inc. (TIME) each have opted against submitting an offer.
Fortune previously reported that SoftBank also has decided against bidding for Yahoo (YHOO), which was put on the block due to pressure from activist investor Starboard Value. Microsoft (MSFT) is interested in providing a small amount of equity or debt financing to support the winning bidder ― largely to protect existing search and ad deals ― but has no plans to make a takeover offer of its own.
What this basically means is that Verizon (VZ) continues to be the most likely landing spot, assuming that a deal does get consummated. If the telecom giant loses interest, there also are several private equity firms continuing to circle, including TPG Capital, KKR and the pairing of Bain Capital with Vista Equity Partners. Some private equity firms also may be working with The Daily Mail, per various media reports.
J.P. Morgan (JPM) is leading Yahoo’s M&A process, with help from PJT Partners, Goldman Sachs (GS) and Evercore (EVR).