Are the Lights About to Go On at Yahoo?

This morning Stifel Nicolaus
upgraded shares of Yahoo!YHOO
and put a $18 price target on shares, as it believes a deal is near. After last week's Delivering Alpha conference, in which Dan Loeb of Third Point hinted that something could be done relatively soon, there is more conviction now than ever that something gets done soon. He also hinted strongly that Jack Ma, of Alibaba could be involved in taking over the company. Yahoo currently owns a 39% stake in Alibaba. Loeb
pointed out
why he believes Yahoo is worth anywhere between $19 and $31 per share. The mid-point of that range, $25 is far higher from Stifel Nicolaus' price target. Considering how well shares of Yahoo have held up in the recent market volatility, especially today, a deal could be done relatively soon. When Loeb's letter
first appeared,
it was the first step in getting the company to sell itself. We may also see a higher offer than anyone expects, considering how valuable the Alibaba stake is becoming. This morning, private equity firms Silver Lake, DST Global, and Yunfeng Capital
$1.6 billion for a 5% stake in Jack Ma's company. That values the company at $32 billion, and Yahoo has a 39% stake in the company. That means Yahoo's stake in the company is worth around $12.5 billion. Right now Yahoo's entire market cap is $17.66 billion, which means the rest of the company is worth just over $5 billion. That includes the core business, the cash on the books, and the other Asian assets, such as Yahoo! Japan. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has twelve #1 web properties, including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, and Yahoo! Sports. It is the number two web brand by total minutes at 17.2 billion per month, but considering the atrocious management and horrendous corporate governance, no one has been been able to unlock the value in the company. At the conference, Loeb went so far as to say as, "No one wants to work with these clowns on the board." Loeb values the company around $27-$28 per share, with Yahoo! Japan and the Alibaba Group stake being worth $3.10 and $5.24 per share, respectively. With $2.49 per share in cash, he values core Yahoo at $2.78 per share. We have seen an increase in chatter recently on Yahoo!, and a potential deal getting done. Stifel Nicolaus upgrading the shares because of the buyout rumor is just another feather in the cap for a deal getting done relatively soon. The price action speaks volumes. It looks like something is going to happen relatively soon at Yahoo. Just flip the light switch.

Traders who believe that Yahoo gets bought out might want to consider the following trades:

  • Consider going long the common equity here. At less than $14 per share, Yahoo could see anywhere between a 60% and 100% premium based on Loeb's calculations.
  • Traders may also want to consider long dated options on Yahoo, which will appreciated on a takeout offer.
Traders who believe that Yahoo does not get sold may consider an alternate positions:

  • Yahoo still has the same board, led by Chairman Roy Bostock who Loeb hates. The board bungled the first takeout offer by Microsoft MSFT. Has anything really changed at Yahoo that much? If you believe it has not, Yahoo could drop sharply.

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Posted In: Dan LoebRoy BostockStifel NicolausThird Point LLCLong IdeasShort IdeasOptionsMarketsTrading Ideas