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Help wanted: Alibaba seeking partners to acquire Yahoo

Alibaba Group and Softbank are reportedly discussing the possibility of acquiring Yahoo outright with the help of investment partners.

Alibaba Group and Softbank are trying to woo investors to help them acquire Yahoo outright, a new report claims.

Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reported today that the companies are looking for investment firms that haven't signed the Yahoo nondisclosure agreement. Terms of the nondisclosure agreement ban companies that have signed it from talking with other firms about entering into strategic partnerships to acquire the online giant.

However, as Bloomberg reported, according to its sources, Yahoo "prefers to sell a smaller stake, rather than cede complete control," so Alibaba and Softbank's efforts might come up empty.

Talk of Yahoo being acquired has continued since the company fired then-CEO Carol Bartz earlier this year. A slew of companies and investment firms have reportedly shown interest in acquiring all or part of Yahoo, but so far, the company hasn't fielded any bids.

Alibaba Group has been most outspoken about its desire to acquire Yahoo. Earlier this year, the company's chairman, Jack Ma, said that he's "very interested" in buying the online giant. But as with other potential suitors, Alibaba needs the help of other firms to make a deal happen, and it appears it's trying to find those companies now.

Yahoo currently holds a 40 percent stake in Alibaba. The company is also a major stockholder in Softbank.