Yang's letter mentioned the Silver Late and DST Global investment in Alibaba, stating that, "Alibaba Group has just announced a liquidity event for its employees that reflects a continued appreciation in its value, and therefore of the value of our stake." Silver Lake has also reportedly been interested in buying Yahoo!
The news of Ma's interest in Yahoo! is a twist in a contentious year when he has fought with its leadership. Earlier in the year, Yahoo! management criticized Ma for spinning the company's payments arm, Alipay, without their approval. The split put one of Alibaba's most valuable assets of the reach of some investors like Yahoo!. All parties settled in July by agreeing that if Alipay were to do an IPO, it would transfer at least $2 billion and as much as $6 billion to the parent Alibaba.
Ma's statements show he will continue to be a large presence in the company's direction. Ma has a first right of refusal to buy back the company's 40% Alibaba stake if it were to sell itself. His statement on Friday shows that whether Yahoo considers a merger or outright sale, he will likely be involved in negotiations.
-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York