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Yahoo shows no interest in Alibaba stake sale

That is what Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Carol Bartz tells the founder of Alibaba Group whenever he asks if he can buy back Yahoo's 39 percent stake in the Chinese Internet company.

business Updated: Sep 16, 2010 12:57 IST

That is what Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Carol Bartz tells the founder of Alibaba Group whenever he asks if he can buy back Yahoo's 39 per cent stake in the Chinese Internet company.

Alibaba Group "constantly" approaches Yahoo about repurchasing its stake, Bartz said in a wide-ranging interview on Wednesday, but Yahoo has no plans to sell it.

Yahoo shares rose more than 4 per cent on a report that a deal is pending for Yahoo to sell its roughly 39 percent stake in Alibaba, the parent company of Chinese Web sites including and Taobao, for up to $11 billion.

Responding to the report, Alibaba Group said on Thursday there were talks recently but they ended after an agreement could not be reached.

"We made an offer that included a partial sale and a specific plan to maximise the value of their remaining stake," Alibaba Group spokesman John Spelich said in a statement.

"That offer was rejected, and they countered with a very different proposal, which we found unjustifiable, and we terminated the discussions," he said.

Yahoo's Asian assets, which also include a 35 per cent stake in Yahoo Japan, account for about 40 percent of its value by some estimates.

Alibaba Group is China's top e-commerce firm. Alibaba Group owns unlisted Taobao, China's largest consumer-oriented e-commerce site, Alipay, China's dominant e-payment service and, the country's largest business to business online platform.

"People are wringing their hands about what to do in the China market...this is a great way to get upside in the China market," Bartz said, of the world's largest Internet market by users that has challenged rivals such as Google Inc. Analysts see Yahoo not intending to sell until Alibaba's high-growth units, namely Taobao and Alipay, go public. "They (Yahoo) think it's worth a lot more and there is no way of knowing how much it is worth until Taobao goes public," said Paul Wuh, an analyst from Samsung Securities.

"From a Yahoo shareholders perspective, you don't want them to sell it. The Yahoo share price would fall if they did that," Wuh said. Wuh covers

Despite Bartz knocking down the speculation, the shares continued to rise on Bartz's disclosure of Alibaba's persistent overtures, said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. "It's highlighting the fact that Alibaba would like to reclaim the stake," he said. "That's a positive, you've got a buyer."

Bartz played down recent reports suggesting tension between Yahoo and Alibaba, noting she recently sat next to Alibaba CEO and founder Jack Ma all day during a Microsoft summit. "I'm betting Jack Ma will do a great job in the company," Bartz said.

However, Alibaba has made those tensions very clear, chiding Yahoo through different media outlets.'s chief executive told Bloomberg last Friday that Yahoo presented no value to the firm without its own search technology. Alibaba also told Reuters last week the firm was re-evaluating its relationship with Yahoo.

First Published: Sep 16, 2010 12:55 IST