December 22, 2011

Yahoo Considering Selling $17 Billion Worth of Asian Interests


Yahoo may be about to divest itself of some significant Asian holdings, the New York Times is reporting today. The company's board is apparently toying with the idea of selling its rather valuable holdings in the Alibaba Group of China and Yahoo’s Japanese affiliate back to their majority owners. The transaction would be worth about $17 billion, New York Times sources have said.

Yahoo's board is reportedly meeting today to go over the mechanics of the deal and decide whether to pursue the sale. If directors approve the Asian sales plan, they may also decide to reject separate investment proposals by Silver Lake and TPG Capital that would have given control of the company to the private equity firms and Yahoo’s management, the Times said, based on information from confidential sources.

While Yahoo's Asian assets are considered some of its most valuable holdings, analysts believe the company is eager to raise cash to try and shake some life back into its U.S. operations, which in recent years have seen declining revenue in favor of newer players like Google (News - Alert) and Facebook, and a loss of some of its most senior executives.

A lot of cash is what the sale would raise: the Times estimates that Yahoo’s 40 percent in Alibaba is worth about $12 billion and its 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan at about $5 billion. It could be executed either as a stand-alone deal or alongside a minority investment in Yahoo by Silver Lake or TPG, reported the newspaper.

Analysts expect that Yahoo will likely hold onto a small stake in China's Alibaba to take advantage of skyrocketing Chinese Internet revenue, according to the report.




Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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