Group approaches Alibaba on Yahoo bid, source says

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 10 Nov 2010

HONG KONG: Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, has been approached by a group of private equity investors to gauge his interest in joining a bid to buy Yahoo Inc, a source close to the situation said.

Ma, whose Alibaba Group was 40% held by Yahoo and was China’s largest e-commerce company, had yet to make any decision about participating in the potential bid, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

He declined to give more details, including the names of any of the private equity companies involved. The source said it was unclear if the bid attempt was a new one or one in which AOL Inc was said in October to be looking at.

Yahoo, the No. 2 search engine in the United States, is struggling to revive its fortunes after falling behind Google Inc and facing stiff competition from social networking sites such as Facebook.

Much of its value is now tied up in its Asian assets, where its ties are under some strain.

Yahoo, which has a market capitalisation of about US$22bil, is not in active discussions with financial or strategic partners, and is not currently reviewing or eliciting any proposals, said another source close to Yahoo, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Alibaba spokesman John Spelich had no comment on the matter. — Reuters

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