#UK Yahoo’s board is still debating the Alibaba spinoff (YHOO)


Marissa Mayer

Yahoo’s board of directors finished its first of three days of meetings on Wednesday without reaching a decision on whether to press ahead with the planned spinoff of its stake in Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba, according to CNBC’s David Faber

The board meetings come amid media reports that Yahoo is considering selling its core internet business, either in addition to or instead of the Alibaba spinoff. 

Such a sale would mark an abrupt change of plans at the company, which has been trying to revitalize its business for more than three years under CEO Marissa Mayer, while spinning off the ancillary Asian investments in a transaction expected to close in January. Private equity firms and telecommunications companies such as Verizon have been cited as among the potential buyers of Yahoo’s core business in recent media reports and analyst notes.

But people at two potential bidders told Business Insider on Wednesday that they are not exploring any kind of deal to acquire Yahoo’s internet business at this time.

One said the report of the Yahoo sale was overblown, noting that the firm had looked at Yahoo earlier, but that it wasn’t for sale and that the company needs to fix a lot of things before it could begin a sales process. 

Re/code’s Kara Swisher also tweeted that there is “no process in place” for any sale and that the company has not hired any new bankers, other than Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, who were hired a year ago to fend off activist investors. 

Yahoo’s online properties remain some of the most visited in the world, with hundreds of millions of monthly visitors. But the company remains far behind web rivals such as Google and Facebook in terms of user engagement and advertiser budgets.

Activist shareholder Starboard wrote a letter to Yahoo last month urging it to halt its plan to spin off its 15% stake in Alibaba through a complex tax-free spinoff that Yahoo hopes to complete by January. Starboard said the risk of incurring taxes on the deal, especially after the IRS refused to bless the transaction ahead of time, was too great.

SEE ALSO: The inside story of why Marissa Mayer’s most trusted executives have given up on Yahoo

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