YAHOO BEGINS TAKING ITS LAST LAP
When Yahoo (YHOO) issues its latest earnings report after Monday's market closes, it'll probably be its last one as an independent company. And even though the numbers are likely to be miserable, most investors will probably ignore them and look instead for an update on the sale of the once-pioneering Internet company.Verizon Communications (VZ), which got into the digital content business last year with its $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL, was seen as an early favorite to acquire Yahoo's core assets, including its best-known properties such as Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Finance, which attract more than 1 billion users annually. According to Gabelli & Co. analyst Brett Harriss, Verizon can afford to pay a high price for Yahoo because of the savings it could gain from merging it with AOL.Other Yahoo bidders are said to include AT&T (T); Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, who has the backing of billionaire Warren Buffett; and private equity firm TPG. It's unclear when Yahoo will announce the results of the sale. A company spokesperson couldn't immediately be reached."Who knows?" said Harriss. "It could be today. It could be in a week. It should be sometime soon."