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Yahoo's talks to sell Asian assets stall

February 14, 2012|Bloomberg News

Yahoo Inc.'s discussions to sell its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its Japanese operations have reached an impasse, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Representatives of Alibaba and Softbank Corp., co-owner of Yahoo Japan Corp., are prepared to approach Yahoo Chief Executive Scott Thompson to explore another arrangement that would let companies buy back their stakes, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The value of the Asian assets is about $11.5 billion, said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley & Co. in San Francisco. Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is prepared to continue talks on potential deals, a different person said.

A failure to reach a deal may put more pressure on Yahoo's board, which recently endured a shake-up and has been reviewing the company's operations since last year. Investors such as Third Point have urged the company to make changes to help improve the stock, which has dropped about 18% since a May 2011 high.

The stock fell 4.7% to $15.36 on Monday.

Dana Lengkeek, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, didn't immediately comment.

Yahoo, the largest Web portal, began the review after the ouster of Chief Executive Carol Bartz in September.

The company said Feb. 7 that Chairman Roy Bostock won't stand for reelection, along with three other directors.

Yahoo has considered a deal with Alibaba and Softbank that would cut its stake in Alibaba to about 15% from about 40%, a person familiar with the matter has said.

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