Could Yahoo Become A Chinese Company?
During a recent question-and-answer session at Stanford University, Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma said he was “very interested” in buying all of Yahoo.
The search engine is reportedly preparing to seek buyers to take over the company. Ma and his Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba have been mentioned as possible participants in a deal, but Ma had never before clearly stated he wanted to be a main buyer.
The American search engine actually has a history with the Chinese market site, going back to 2005, when they formed a “strategic partnership,” with Yahoo, investing heavily in the young site.
But relationships have become strained, as Ma tried to buy back Yahoo’s shares in his company, and was refused. If he succeeds in buying the company outright, it would represent a total change in the power and dynamics of the companies’ relationship.
Microsoft is also often mentioned as a major potential buyer, though unnamed sources at Microsoft and Yahoo say this is unlikely at this point. Microsoft bid to buy Yahoo in 2008 and was rejected, angering many investors at the search engine.
Ma is a former schoolteacher who has built an online empire of commerce-related Web sites. He is living in the U.S. for the next year to learn “more about the country and the market,” according to Reuters.