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Yahoo shares pop 3% on Japan stake rumors

Yahoo stock jumps on that the company is planning to unload its stake of a Japanese joint venture.Click the chart for more on YHOO. By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Shares of Yahoo rose more than 3% Wednesday on rumors that the company is planning to unload its share of a Japanese joint venture in order to free up cash.

Reuters posted an article early Wednesday saying Yahoo is in late-stage talks to transfer its 35% stake in Yahoo Japan to Softbank Corp. Softbank already controls 42% of Yahoo Japan.

Later in the morning, the New York Times' DealBook blog posted a similar story. Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) shares closed 3.3% higher Wednesday, at $16.63.

The move could bring Yahoo $8 billion, and the company would likely then turn its attention to China, Reuters said. Yahoo owns 39% of Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group.

Alibaba itself owns Yahoo China as well as three massive Chinese properties: B2B platform Alibaba.com, online payment service Alipay and e-commerce site Taobao. Alibaba went public on Hong Kong's stock exchange in 2007 and raised $1.7 billion -- at the time the second-biggest Internet IPO ever, behind only Google.

It's been so successful, in fact, that in September Alibaba offered to buy back Yahoo's stake for about $11 billion. Yahoo declined.

Alibaba suffered a huge PR blow last month, when it reported that 2,326 high-volume sellers defrauded customers over the course of two years with the assistance of nearly 100 Alibaba employees. CEO David Wei resigned as a result.

Still, the Alibaba stake is one of Yahoo's bright spots, as it has lost market share in display advertising -- once its biggest stronghold -- to rivals Google and Facebook.

But companies struggle to penetrate a Chinese search market that's dominated by native Baidu. Last March, Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) moved its servers out of mainland China and said it would stop censoring its search results in the country. By July, Google said it had renewed its license and would be allowed to continue operating in China. To top of page

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