Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners has approached Yahoo! about making a bid for the struggling Internet company, according to newspaper reports.
Yahoo! abruptly fired chief executive Carol Bartz last week and the Sunnyvale, California-based firm has been buffeted by reports since then that the board of directors is looking at selling all or part of the company.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both reported in Friday's editions that Silver Lake, which recently sold its stake in Skype to Microsoft as part of an $8.5 billion deal, is among the interested suitors in Yahoo!
Microsoft, a consortium of investors led by former top News Corp. executive Peter Chernin and the Alibaba Group have also reportedly expressed interest in Yahoo! or its assets.
Yahoo! owns 43 percent of Alibaba, China's top online retailer, and the stake is considered to be among its prize assets.
The New York Times said Silver Lake was working with venture firm Andreessen Horowitz on a bid for Yahoo! and had been studying the possibility for the past six months.
Andreessen Horowitz is a venture capital firm launched in July 2009 by Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of pioneering Web browser company Netscape, and a partner, Ben Horowitz.
The Times said Yahoo!'s board discussed the approach by Silver Lake during a meeting on Wednesday and hired Allen & Company as its investment bank for a review of Yahoo's business.