Yahoo hires advisers, looks at selling Yahoo Japan stake

  • Reuters, San Francisco
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2015 11:00 IST

Yahoo Inc announced on Wednesday that it is looking at cashing in on its stake in Yahoo Japan Corp, which could be worth almost $9 billion before tax; news that boosted Yahoo's stock price.

The Internet company has hired advisers to help it evaluate options for the stake, Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer told investors on a conference call on Tuesday. It will not be included in the planned spin-off of its stake in China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, she said.

Investors have been urging Mayer to monetize the Yahoo Japan stake separately, after she announced plans to spin off the Alibaba stake in January, which could be worth $40 billion.

The advisers will help Yahoo "determine the most promising opportunities to maximize value" for the Yahoo Japan stake, said Mayer.

Yahoo shares rose after the announcement, following disappointing earnings results, trading up about 1% from their close at $44.49 on Nasdaq.
But Wall Street remained broadly cautious about the plan.

"They are taking the slow train, stressing the process," said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners, who warned that a deal, if any, could be a long way down the line. "Engaging advisers doesn't mean spinning it out."

Yahoo owns about 35% of Yahoo Japan Corp, which has a market value of almost $25 billion on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Japanese internet company SoftBank Corp is the biggest shareholder, with about 36%, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Last month Yahoo shareholder Starboard Value LP said that the Alibaba spin-off was a "good first step" but urged Yahoo to also spin off its Yahoo Japan stake in a tax-efficient manner.

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