Yahoo board said to consider unloading Asian assets

Board to meet tomorrow to consider a tax-free plan to sell its stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, sources tell The New York Times.

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Yahoo's board of directors is considering a deal to sell its Asian assets back to their majority holders in a tax-free deal worth $17 billion, according to a report in The New York Times.

The Web pioneer's board is expected to meet tomorrow to discuss selling its stakes in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper. If the company decides to pursue the deal, it could elect to reject investment proposals by Silver Lake and TPG Capital, these people said.

Alibaba and Softbank, Yahoo Japan's majority holder, would reportedly create new legal corporate entities containing both cash and operating assets, according to the report. Yahoo would then swap out its stakes in the companies, though it's expected to retain a 15 percent stake in Alibaba.

Yahoo declined to comment on the report. But Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang said at a conference in October that the company's board of directors was considering a number of strategic options, including the sale of the company intact or in pieces.

"The intent going in is not to put ourselves for sale," Yang said at the AsiaD conference. "The intent is to look at all the options. So far we have not ruled out any possibilities."

Yahoo's fate has been in a state of flux since the board fired Carol Bartz as its chief executive in September. Reports of potential buyers have been rampant in recent months since a leaked memo from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang indicated the company could be for sale.

Silver Lake Partners has been rumored to have offered $16.60 per share for about a 20 percent stake in Yahoo, and TPG Capital, another investment firm, has reportedly offered about a $1 more per share.