The comments come as Jack Ma, chief executive officer of Alibaba
Group Holding Ltd., China's biggest e-commerce company, reiterated
today he is "interested" in buying Yahoo and is awaiting a decision
by the Sunnyvale, California-based company. Yahoo ousted Ms. Bartz
after the web portal failed to keep pace with growth at Google and
Since then "multiple parties" have expressed interest in the
company, according to a memo last month by Mr. Yang. When Mr. Yang
was CEO in 2008, Yahoospurned a $47.5 billion offer by Microsoft
Corp. Yahoo now has a market value of $20 billion. Today he said
the U.S. internet company has "plenty of options" and its board is
"excited" about the ongoing review.
"We're waiting for Yahoo's board to tell us what they want to
do," Jack Ma said at the same venue within hours of Yang's speech.
"We're waiting for answers. If we don't do it soon, it's not good
for all of us." The intentions of Yahoo present a bigger problem
than the financing of the deal does, Mr. Ma said. He added that
Alibaba is working with private-equity firms on Yahoo, but didn't
Yahoo has drawn an increasingly crowded field of potential
bidders for the company. KKR & Co. and Blackstone Group are
among the private-equity firms considering possible bids for Yahoo,
according to people with knowledge of the matter.
In addition, Alibaba Group, whose biggest shareholder is Yahoo,
has discussed a plan with Silver Lake and Russia's Digital Sky
Technologies to make a joint bid, people familiar with the matter
have said. Another group that is interested in a possible offer
includes Providence Equity Partners Inc. and former News Corp.
executive Peter Chernin, people said. Meanwhile, Silver Lake is
working with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Microsoft to
put together a proposal to buy Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal
reported on its website today, citing unidentified people familiar
with the matter.
Linda Sims, spokeswoman for Canada Pension in Ontario, and Dana
Lengkeek, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, didn't respond to voice messages
left after hours seeking comment on the report.
Yahoo's collaboration with Alibaba is continuing and that
remains unaffected by the strategic review, Yahoo Asia Managing
Director Rose Tsou said at the same event in Hong Kong.
In 2005, Alibaba Group sold a stake of about 40% to Yahoo for $1
billion and ownership of Yahoo's Chinese unit. The Hangzhou-based
company now operates e-commerce businesses including Alibaba.com
and Taobao.com, in addition to Yahoo's local website.
Alibaba is the "main driving force" for action on Yahoo and the
company is "ready to buy back" Yahoo's stake, Mr. Ma said.
"The board is actively looking at the full range of options
available to return the company to a path of robust growth and
industry-leading innovation," interim CEO Tim Morse said on a
conference call earlier this week.
Yahoo recently agreed to extend a revenue-per-search pact with
Microsoft in the U.S. and Canada through 2013. The accord had been
set to run out in the first quarter of next year.
Microsoft may have concerns about its search-engine partnership,
Mr. Yang said today. The alliance "may not have gone the way they
wanted," he said without elaborating.