Yahoo 'gives potential buyers two weeks to bid for web business'

Yahoo sets April deadline for bids

Yahoo has reportedly given interested buyers two weeks to bid for its traditional web business as it fends off an attempt at a boardroom coup by a US activist investor.

Suitors have until April 11 to put forward preliminary offers for its internet arm, as well as the group's Asian businesses, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The struggling internet giant put its core business up for sale in February after shelving plans to spin off its lucrative 33 billion US dollar (£23 billion) stake in Chinese ecommerce group Alibaba, which could have landed it with a tax bill of more than 10 billion US dollars (£7 billion).

It is thought a deal could be reached as soon as June, with potential buyers said to include US telecoms firm Verizon Communications and publisher Time Inc, as well as private equity firms TPG and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Yahoo's embattled chief executive Marissa Mayer is facing increasing pressure after struggling to bolster the group's performance and share price, with activist investor Starboard Value last week launching a battle to replace the firm's entire board.

It has nominated nine people to Yahoo's board and investors are set to vote on Starboard's plans at the firm's annual shareholder meeting in the summer.

Tensions have been growing between Starboard and Yahoo in recent weeks.

Starboard has suggested a major change in leadership is needed, and that could include ousting Ms Mayer, who has cut staff and offloaded assets in a bid to turn around Yahoo's flagging fortunes.

Yahoo is laying off around 1,700 employees, or 15% of its workforce, under plans to save 400 million dollars (£282 million) a year to help offset falling revenues.

The firm has seen revenues continue to decline, despite previous turnaround efforts since Ms Mayer took the top job three-and-a-half years ago.

Her latest revival plans will also see the group look to sell some of Yahoo's patents, real estate and other assets - including Yahoo Games, Yahoo TV and some of its digital magazines - for up to three billion dollars (£2.1 billion).

Yahoo also plans to close offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan.

But the job cuts will still leave Yahoo with around 9,000 workers worldwide.