Alibaba wants to take Web unit private

@CNNMoneyTech February 21, 2012: 5:44 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, which has been in the headlines lately for its tussles with stakeholder Yahoo, wants to take its publicly traded Web portal private.

Alibaba Group said Tuesday that it made an offer to Alibaba.com's board of directors.

Alibaba Group owns about 73.5% of e-commerce leader Alibaba.com, which is the company's only publicly traded subsidiary. Under the terms of the deal, Alibaba Group would buy the other 26.5% of the company for 13.50 Hong Kong dollars ($1.74 U.S.) per share in cash.

That's a 55.3% premium above Alibaba.com's average closing price over the last 10 days -- but it's the exact same price the company fetched in its initial public offering in November 2007.

Taking the web portal private "will allow our company to make long-term decisions that are in the best interest of our customers and that are also free from the pressures that come from having a publicly listed company," Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma said in a prepared statement.

Alibaba has been in the news frequently over the past year for its contentious relationship with Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500).

Yahoo owns about a 40% stake in Alibaba, which is considered one of its most valuable assets. But Ma and former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz had a public dispute over ownership of Alipay, an online payment unit similar to eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500)-owned PayPal.

The companies reached an agreement in July 2011, but tensions continued. Ma said at a conference in late September that Alibaba would be "interested" in buying all of Yahoo -- a purchase that would essentially allow Ma to buy back control of that 40% Alibaba stake.

According to media reports, Yahoo had been in advanced talks with Alibaba and Japan-based Softbank to discuss selling its stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. But those talks reportedly collapsed earlier this month. To top of page

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