Yahoo is in talks to unload its 39% stake in Chinese tech company Alibaba for as much as $11 billion according to a report from Susquehanna Financial analyst Marianne Wolk, picked up at Barron’s.The sourcing here is very weak: Wolk cites a Chinese web site, which cites a venture capitalist saying Yahoo might sell the stake for $8 billion to $11 billion.
Yahoo certainly has every reason to unload the Alibaba stake, as there’s no business reason for it to own it. Also, there is plenty of tension between Yahoo and Alibaba.
Last Friday, Alibaba CEO David Wei blatantly slapped Yahoo, saying, “Why do we need a financial investor with no business synergy or technology?”
Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch took a thorough look at the Alibaba-Yahoo relationship recently. She says Carol Bartz has destroyed Yahoo’s relationship with Alibaba, and the two companies are heading for a divorce.
A source close to Alibaba told Lacy, Bartz “displayed the diplomatic skills of a donkey” when she first met the executives running Alibaba, dressing down the CEO in front of his team.
The trick for Yahoo? Alibaba owns two huge web properties, Taobao and Alipay, which are about to be spun out. Selling the stake now could be foolish.
But, $11 billion is a lot of money for a company with a stock stuck in neutral.
Update: Carol Bartz says she has no interest in selling her Alibaba stake.