Yahoo wants $10 billion, and Microsoft could back the bidder

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer delivers her keynote address at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada in this January 7, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith  Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer delivers her keynote address at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las VegasThomson Reuters

Yahoo's board wants to sell its core business for $10 billion, and Microsoft is willing to provide financial help to whoever's interested in a deal, according to Re/code's Kara Swisher.

The report said Microsoft has been meeting with a number of private equity firms who may be interested in buying Yahoo's core business, which includes its online search and advertising business, with the idea of providing "significant financing" help.

The goal is to keep its existing search partnership deal with Yahoo, in case its search business gets sold to a third party, it said.

Microsoft's partnerships and acquisition strategy head Peggy Johnson is involved in the talks, Re/code reported, citing anonymous sources. But discussions are still at the "exploratory" stage, it said.

The $10 billion price tag Yahoo's board is seeking is slightly higher than the $6 billion to $8 billion price range most analysts pegged for Yahoo's core business.

The news comes on the same day activist investor Starboard Value submitted nominations for its own slate of board members. That means Yahoo shareholders will get to vote between the current Yahoo board members and Starboard's candidates for the company's future control.

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