December 29, 2011
Alibaba Making Bid To Buy Yahoo
Reports say Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group may be trying to make a bid to buy all of Yahoo Inc.
According to congressional fillings, the company enlisted the Duberstein Group lobbying firm last fall for the first time.
The company's chief executive and chairman, Jack Ma, said last September that he was open to acquire Yahoo if it was possible.
Preliminary talks back then were planning for Alibaba, which already holds 40 percent of Yahoo, to take Yahoo's Asian assets and offload the U.S. business.
Alibaba hiring a Washington lobbying firm could help the company address any U.S. political opposition to a complete takeover of Yahoo. Chinese companies like Huawei Technologies have run into opposition when they try to buy U.S. assets.
According to congressional records, the filings mark the first time Alibaba has registered to lobby with the U.S. government.
Japan's Softbank, which owns a 30 percent stake in Alibaba and is a partner in Yahoo Japan, is an affiliate of Alibaba in the disclosures.
Reports say that Yahoo is weighing a plan valued at about $17 billion that would reduce its shareholding in Alibaba and see Yahoo exit Yahoo Japan.
The relationship between Yahoo and Alibaba has been a source of controversy, leading to Yahoo's former chief executive officer, Carol Bartz, firing last September.
Before she was fired, Yahoo avoided attempts by Ma to buy back some of Yahoo's stake in Alibaba, causing tensions between the two companies.
The final straw was the circumstances surrounding the transfer of Alibaba's payment business, Alipay, to a company controlled by Ma at the start of the year.
Bartz and Yahoo's board did not realize how much a deal with Alibaba in September would impact the value of Yahoo's $1 billion investment in the Chinese company, which resulted in a rush of lawsuits by shareholders.
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