Four years after acquiring a 40% stake in China-based Alibaba Group for USD1 billion, Yahoo has sold all of its shares in Alibaba.com, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, for about USD150 million.
Yahoo still retains its 40% stake in the unlisted Alibaba Group, but its relinquishment of shares in the e-commerce subsidiary Alibaba.com is a sign that either Yahoo has a weak outlook on the Chinese online shopping sector or its relationship with Alibaba is souring.
Alibaba.com announced last month that based on its "Big Taobao" strategy, the group will merge its lifestyle website Yahoo Koubei into its Internet shopping platform Taobao.com.
In June 2008, CEO of Alibaba Jack Ma announced the merger of China Yahoo and Koubei.com and renamed the company as Yahoo Koubei. Yahoo Koubei focused on development lifestyle-related e-commerce, community and communication services. However, one year after the integration, China Yahoo will be split from Koubei.com and will re-focus on its email, content, and search services.
During the announcement last month of the merger of Koubei.com with Taobao.com, the Alibaba Group also announced a series of personnel changes. Wang Shuai, vice president of Alibaba, was appointed general manager of China Yahoo; Jin Jianhang, former general manager of China Yahoo, would be transferred back to the group to assist the work of Ma; and Zhang Yu, vice president of Alibaba Group and general manager for Taobao.com's consumer business department, would be new general manager of Koubei.com.