Jack Ma, the co-founder and Chief Executive officer of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., expressed his interested in acquiring troubled internet giant Yahoo! Inc., and has held discussions with other potential buyers on possible deal, according to media reports.
“We are very interested in Yahoo because our Alibaba Group is so important to Yahoo, and Yahoo is also very important to us,” Ma was quoted saying by Bloomberg. “There are so many people who are interested in that, and we are also talking to them.”
Some reports said that Alibaba Group joins private equity firms such as Silver Lake and media executive Peter Chernin as possible suitors for Yahoo. If Alibaba goes ahead with this idea, it will face tough competition from other potential suitors such as Microsoft (which tried to buy the company in 2008 for $45bn or $31 a share) or AOL.
Last month, Yahoo’s board has removed Carol Bartz from her role as Chief Executive Officer of the company, effective immediately. The Sunnyvale, California-based Internet giant has named CFO Timothy Morse as interim CEO while it initiates a search for a permanent CEO.
A representative for Yahoo! declined to comment, Bloomberg reported.
Yahoo owns 40% of Alibaba and large share in Yahoo Japan that amount to one-third to one-half of Yahoo’s overall market value, which currently stands at about $17 billion. Previously, Ma has attempted to buy back Yahoo’s 40% stake in his Chinese Internet empire and has had tough battles with Yahoo’s former CEO in recent months.
Almost 178 million consumers visit Yahoo each month, according to ComScore, which ranks Yahoo the number two web property behind number-one Google (183 million visitors) and ahead of number-three Microsoft Sites (177 million). Alibaba dominates ecommerce in China with its C2C domestic Taobao auction site, B2B global Alibaba marketplace, and its B2C Taobao Mall marketplace for brands, along with its online payment service Alipay.
SOURCES: RTT News, The Street, Market Watch, WSJ (2/10/2011)
IN THE PRESS:
. “How Alibaba Could Change Ecommerce with Yahoo Acquisition” (Auction Bytes)
. “Alibaba chief Ma ‘very interested’ in buying Yahoo!” (The Telegraph)