Within the last few months there has been much speculation regarding the potential sale of Yahoo. At this point it seems as though the speculation is no longer about whether or not Yahoo will be sold, but rather who Yahoo will be sold to. Interested buyers include, but are not limited to, Microsoft, Google and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Jack Ma, chairman of the China-based Alibaba Group, has repeatedly admitted that his company is “very interested” in buying Yahoo. Buying the defeated internet giant is especially appealing to Alibaba since Yahoo itself owns a 40% stake in Alibaba. Yahoo has agreed to sell Alibaba what Yahoo owns of the company, but Yahoo has expressed reservations about selling the whole company to Alibaba. Due to many nondisclosure agreements Yahoo has signed with many other potential buyers, Alibaba has had trouble finding suitable partners to help fund the purchase. Though neither Google nor Microsoft has signed an NDA with Yahoo, assistance from these competitors is unrealistic. However, as of Nov. 9th, Alibaba has been in communication with Softbank Corp. about jointly making the purchase. The two are now in talks with private-equity funds about making a bid, all without the blessing of Yahoo.
Though questions linger about who will gain control of Yahoo! Inc., Jack Ma has had no trouble finding investors for Alibaba Group. On Nov. 1st Yunfeng Capital, Silver Lake, DST Global and other investors completed the purchase of a collective 5% stake in Alibaba that is worth $1.6 billion. Investors have come from a slew of different countries, including the US (Silver Lake) and Russia (DST Global). It is not known if this large investment in Alibaba will be put towards buying Yahoo! Inc. or used to strengthen the already monolithic Taobao, which this month yet again demonstrated its e-commerce might. On November 11th, Taobao’s B2C platform “TMall,” along with other e-commerce retailers, hosted a special online sale for the Chinese celebration of “Single Person’s Day.” On this holiday, meant to be a response to the exclusivity of Valentine’s Day, TMall generated 439,000,000 RMB in its first hour of the sale, equal to $68 million, and ended the day with over $800 million in sales. With investors purchasing stakes in the company and millions of e-commerce patrons using Taobao and TMall, Alibaba is continuing to outshine the competition, and their potential purchase of Yahoo! Inc. could send tremors throughout the e-commerce world.