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Yahoo! and EMI Plot Thickens: Deals to Watch

Meanwhile, investors like Ron Burkle's Yucaipa, a recent investor in Amalgamated Bank are also reported to be interested in submitting a bid for EMI, while Platinum Equity and Apollo Global Management have lost interest.

On Friday, AllThingsD's Kara Swisher reported that Alibaba Chief Executive Jack Ma said he is "very interested in purchasing Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report)." Yahoo!, a 40% owner of the largest business ecommerce website in China founded by Ma, has been looking at options including a sale of the company or merger with AOL (AOL) after its struggles this year culminated in the firing of CEO Carol Bartz in September.

Yahoo! shares, which are down over 20% year to date rose as much as 5.5% to 13.90 in early trading.

At a Stanford University forum in Palo Alto California, Ma said "We are very interested in Yahoo. Our Alibaba group is important to Yahoo and Yahoo is important to us...All the serious buyers interested in Yahoo have talked to us."

Ma's comments highlight the importance of Yahoo!'s stake in Alibaba the online seller of business and consumer goods, which includes premier Chinese online retail brands alibaba.com, Taobao, Taobao Mall and Alipay, its payment processing division.

Last week, private equity investors DST Global and Silver Lake and a consortium of investors bought a $1.6 billion piece of Alibaba Group previously owned by company insiders. The deal gave Alibaba, which is the largest online business trading market in the world, a $32 billion valuation. It also valued Yahoo!'s Alibaba stake at nearly $14 billion, not far below its overall market value of $17.3 billion.

In a September letter to employees after the share sale was announced, Yahoo! Chief Executive Jerry Yang confirmed the company's board has hired Allen & Company to do a "strategic review to help the Company to a path of robust growth." The letter indicated the company may be considering a review of the company, code word for a sale or merger. Allen & Company is currently also working on the initial public offerings of Groupon and Zynga.

The largest U.S. website by viewers is reeling after its board voted to fire former Chief Executive Carol Bartz earlier this September and replace her with CFO Timothy Morse on an interim basis. The Sunnyvale, California based Company has been in talks with AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong about a potential merger. A merged Yahoo! and AOL would likely keep Armstrong on as CEO to run the combined company.
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