Yahoo’s bad day just got worse.Alibaba released a statement saying Yahoo knew two years ago that it was going to have to sell off its online payment company Alipay to conform to Chinese regulations.
This is quite a shock considering Yahoo management says it was surprised to find out at the end of March that Alipay had been spun out of Alibaba.
For what it’s worth, Kara Swisher, the leading voice on all things Yahoo, reports that Alibaba sold off Alipay without board approval last fall.
This is important because Yahoo board member, and cofounder, Jerry Yang sits on Alibaba’s board. If the sale was run past Alibaba’s board, then there is absolutely no excuse for Yahoo being caught off guard.
Still, Alibaba is arguing now that it did give Yahoo the heads up two years ago.
Here’s the statement via Kara Swisher at All Things D:
The Alibaba Group management has taken actions to comply with Chinese law governing payment companies in order to secure a licence to continue operating Alipay. The Alibaba Group board discussed at numerous Board meetings over the past three years the impending imposition of new regulatory requirements on the online payment industry, including ownership structures, as they were being developed in China, and was told in a July 2009 board meeting that majority shareholding in Alipay had been transferred into Chinese ownership. The actions taken by Alibaba Group management to comply with the licensing regulations and to ensure continuation of operations are in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. The continued operation of Alipay is essential to the preservation and enhancement of the value of Alibaba Group’s businesses such as Taobao, as Alipay is the payments platform for e-commerce in these businesses.