Yahoo makes gains on deal
SAN FRANCISCO — Shares of Yahoo Inc. posted gains Friday on a report that it was close to signing a deal with Alibaba Group related to the Web portal’s huge stake in the Chinese Internet giant.
Yahoo’s stock rose after AllThingsD reported, citing unnamed sources, the deal in which the company would sell a big part of its stake back to Alibaba.
The transaction also would include a multibillion-dollar share buyback to Yahoo investors and an initial public offering of Alibaba, the blog said, adding that the agreement could be unveiled as early as Monday.
The reported deal comes shortly after Yahoo went through another round of dramatic changes, highlighted by the departure of Chief Executive Scott Thompson, and the triumph of activist shareholder Third Point led by CEO Daniel Loeb.
In its proxy campaign, Third Point had highlighted the importance of Yahoo’s Asian assets, particularly its roughly 40 percent stake in Alibaba valued at roughly $35 billion.
Yahoo and Alibaba, led by CEO Jack Ma, have had a rocky relationship based on that arrangement.
Analysts have speculated that the new Yahoo board, which now includes Loeb, could pursue a deal in which the company would sell shares back to Ma, in exchange for a plan for an eventual Alibaba IPO.
Ma had recently indicated an openness to taking Alibaba public.