Yahoo Shares Rise As Alibaba Prepares IPO

Yahoo owns about 24% of the Chinese e-commerce company, and its shares are up more than 4.5% to $39.24 in mid-day trading following Alibaba‘s plan to list on the New York Stock Exchange — possibly raising as much as $15B. “This will make us a more global company and enhance the company’s transparency, as well as allow the company to continue to pursue our long-term vision and ideals,” Alibaba said yesterday. Yahoo has a lot at stake. Assuming that Alibaba is worth about $190B, Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner estimated in January that Yahoo’s holding accounts for about $24 of the value for each of its shares. But investors know relatively little about Alibaba’s financial performance, and some fear that it’s been too slow to take advantage of sales made via smartphones and tablets in China. Those concerns were exacerbated recently when the government there refused to approve its mobile phone payment process. With revenue growth slowing, and profit margins slipping slightly, BGC Financial’s Colin Gillis warned in January that “the Alibaba metrics may dampen some of the fervor surrounding” Yahoo. Alibaba would have to disclose a lot more information following an IPO in the U.S., and that may mean it feels confident that investors will like what they see.

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