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Make-your-mind-up time as Yahoo's Yang says: We don't HAVE to sell


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 21, 2011 | 3 min read

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang told the All ThingsD Asia conference in Hong Kong that the US internet giant had options "other than selling itself."

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang

"The intent going in is not to put ourselves up for sale," he said. "The intent is to look at all options. There's plenty of options for the board, and plenty of options for our shareholders to realise value.”

The comments came after Jack Ma chief executive officer of Alibaba, China's biggest e-commerce company (40 per cent owned by Yahoo) said he was interested in buying Yahoo and was awaiting a decision by the California company. Other names in the frame: Microsoft, Russia's Digital Sky Technologies, KKR, Blackstone.

All the buzz has come after Yahoo fired CEO Carol Bartz last month as the company failed to keep up with fast-growing Google and Facebook. Since then " multiple parties " had expressed interest in Yahoo, said Mr Yang in a memo last month.

When Mr. Yang was CEO in 2008, Yahoo rejected a $47 billion offer by Microsoft. Yahoo now has a market value of 20 billion. Today Mr. Yang said Yahoo had plenty of options and the board was "excited" about the ongoing review.

Jack Ma,at the same venue within hours of Yang's speech, seemed to suggest it was make-your-mind-up time. “We're waiting for Yahoo's board to tell us what they want to do," he said. "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 Ali Baba was "working with private equity firms" on Yahoo. One report said Alibaba had discussed a plan with Silver Lake and Russia's Digital Sky Technologies for a joint bid,

Other reports suggested KKR, and Blackstone Group as possible private-equity firms considering a bid. The Wall Street Journal said on its website that Silver Lake was working with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Microsoft to put together a proposal .

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