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Yahoo! Shouldn't Sell Chinese Assets

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Experts on Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) have been blogging about what the company should do next.

One thing the company shouldn't do is sell off its Chinese assets -- its 40% stake in Alibaba Group.
Despite all the problems with Alipay over the last six months, the biggest jewel within Alibaba Group is its Taobao and T-Mall business. Taobao is the eBay (EBAY - Get Report) of China and T-Mall is really the Amazon (AMZN) of China.

Unlike eBay though, Taobao has a very low "take rate" on the transactions. However, it makes it up and then some in advertising.

T-Mall is a shopfront where all merchants come to sell to the incredible traffic that passes through T-Mall. Its take rate is much higher: 15% in some cases.

Some private estimates suggest that Taobao (including T-Mall) will equal Baidu (BIDU - Get Report) in revenues this year, although its profitability should not be as high.

Alibaba Group is a company that would likely get valued upon an IPO at between $40 billion and $60 billion. Why should Yahoo! sell its 40% stake now?

If someone wants to pay a premium for that stake, that is a different matter but the board should absolutely not start doing a fire sale (and I don't think they will).

The best way for Yahoo! to increase its own value in the short run and increase the likelihood of an offer would be to split the company into three parts with three stocks: its core business, its Alibaba Group stake, and its Yahoo! Japan stake.

That would also allow interested bidders to go after only the parts they want.

There is still a very reasonable path to a $30+ stock price in the next 18 months if the board does the right thing.
At the time of publication, Eric Jackson was long YHOO.

Eric Jackson is founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd. In January 2007, Jackson started the world's first Internet-based campaign to increase shareholder value at Yahoo!, leading to a change in CEOs in 2007. He also spoke out in favor of Yahoo!'s accepting Microsoft's buyout offer in 2008. Global Proxy Watch named Jackson as one of its 10 "Stars" who positively influenced international corporate governance and shareowner value in 2007.

Prior to founding Ironfire Capital, Jackson was President and CEO of Jackson Leadership Systems, Inc., a leadership, strategy, and governance consulting firm. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance, and holds a B.A. from McGill University.

He was previously Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at VoiceGenie Technologies, a software firm now owned by Alcatel-Lucent. In 2004, Jackson founded the Young Patrons' Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is now the second-largest social and philanthropic group of its kind in North America, raising $500,000 annually for the museum. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at or @ericjackson.

You can contact Eric by emailing him at

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