Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is looking for financing of $4 billion to help buy back a 40% stake in its company that is currently held by Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO). Because Alibaba Group is private, there is no public figure on what Yahoo’s stake is worth, though some analysts say it’s worth at least $9 billion.
Alibaba Group, founded by billionaire entrepreneur and former English teacher Jack Ma, declined to comment. Alibaba, which counts a hugely popular business-to-business platform among its services, has long signaled its intention to buy back the Yahoo stake. The privately held Alibaba Group reaches Internet users in more than 240 countries and regions. Alibaba Group, including its affiliated entities, employs more than 25,000 people in some 70 cities in Greater China, India, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Blackstone Group and Bain Capital are preparing a bid for all of Yahoo Inc.,with Alibaba Group among its partners for the roughly $25 billion deal. Japan’s Softbank Corp is also part of that consortium.
A source familiar with the matter cautioned on Thursday that the entire situation between the consortium and Yahoo remains fluid, and that no final decision has been made on any move that Alibaba or the other corporates plan to make.
On November 2, 2011, Alibaba Group announced an investment of 1 billion yuan (US$157 million) in its eTao shopping search engine, as part of an effort to turn it into a leading destination for online consumers. ETao works as search engine to find and compare products indexed on the site. It also allows users to search for web pages, forum posts and group buying deals.