Mystery investors planning to stake claim for Yahoo
Yahoo faces weeks of financial turmoil as a series of big-hitting deals looks set to reshape the company’s ownership and that of Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, which is part owned by Yahoo.
According to sources, a group of private equity investors was mounting a bid to buy Yahoo and had approached Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, which is 40% held by Yahoo, to gauge his interest in taking part in the Yahoo bid.
Ma had yet to make any decision about whether he planned to participate in the potential bid for Yahoo, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
If the rumours are true, Ma would join a queue of potential suitors, with AOL also interested in merging with the search company.
Sources claimed AOL had spoken to the Bank of America about how to finance a potential Yahoo merger, although the potential deal is still in its infancy.
At the same time, Alibaba, China’s top e-commerce company is also trying to buy back the 40% stake that Yahoo owns following what has been seen as a contentious arrangement between the two companies.
According to a source in the Ma camp, the Alibaba founder has been in talks with private equity companies in an effort to assemble a special-purpose acquisition fund with the express purpose of buying back the Yahoo stake, a source said.
Yahoo bought the Alibaba stake in 2005 for about $1bn, but recent reports said the 40% share could now be worth up to $4bn.
“Jack Ma is keen to get private equity funds involved in the deal, mainly for financing,” said the industry source.