It appears that Google is interested in putting some money down for a Yahoo purchase. Of course it is highly unlikely that regulators would allow a straight up Yahoo acquisition by Google, but could Google throw some money into the pot to keep it out of certain competitors' hands?
That's not to say it wouldn't still draw regulatory scrutiny, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has talked to a couple of private equity firms about helping them finance a deal to buy Yahoo's core business. The source cited is a "person familiar with the matter".
There is some speculation going around that Google just wants to drive the price up for arch rival Microsoft, who has been reported as helping bankroll a joint bid for Yahoo with its partners.
According to that WSJ report, Google is interested in selling ads across Yahoo sites. It would be pretty surprising if this were to come to fruition, especially given a pending deal among Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL designed to compete with Google in advertising, though whether or not this even happens is apparently still up in the air.
As you may recall, regulators wouldn't even let Google and Yahoo form a search advertising partnership, which they did end up letting Yahoo and Microsoft orchestrate.
Of course there are other interested parties in the Yahoo auction. Alibaba has been repeatedly named in the conversation. Yahoo has also said that a sale may not even happen.