Yahoo May Sell Off What You Think of as Yahoo

'Wall Street Journal' reports board is considering 'core business' sale
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2015 2:57 AM CST
Updated Dec 2, 2015 6:42 AM CST
Report: Yahoo Board Thinking About Selling Up
A sign in front of Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Yahoo's board will meet later this week to discuss selling the company lock, stock, and Alibaba, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The sources say that board members are worried about CEO Marissa Mayer's slow progress in turning the company around and are considering selling off Yahoo's "core Internet businesses," as well as its 15% stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is valued at around $32 billion. Yahoo, despite years of decline, is still a major Internet player with more than 1 billion users worldwide, meaning buyers could gain instant access to a huge audience, Quartz notes. Alibaba founder Jack Ma is rumored to be among the potential buyers.

It's not clear exactly what "core businesses" the board is thinking about selling, but selling all of Yahoo's Internet businesses would mean "there would be nothing left of the company," a Tigress Financial Partners analyst tells CNBC, adding that it may be hard to find a buyer for Yahoo's search unit, which is "in decline and has stiff competition from Google and Microsoft." But for potential buyers, the price could be attractive: The Alibaba stake alone exceeds Yahoo's $31 billion market capitalization, meaning investors "are valuing Yahoo's core business at less than zero," the Journal notes. (In October, Yahoo disclosed that its foray into creating original TV shows had cost it $42 million.)

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