5. Yahoo's Freaky Friday
Speaking last Friday afternoon at an event at Stanford University, Jack Ma, the founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, said he's talked with Yahoo as well as others about potentially buying the troubled Internet giant. Yahoo owns a sizable stake of Alibaba Group, which owns multiple Internet businesses in China. Yahoo shares rose close to 3% Monday to $13.60 on the news, bringing its market-cap to just over $17 billion. Reports of a potential rekindling of interest from Microsoft (MSFT) Wednesday pushed the stock even higher later in the week, lifting Yahoo's market-cap to nearly $20 billion.
"We are very interested in Yahoo because our Alibaba Group is so important to Yahoo, and Yahoo is also very important to us," said Ma. "There are so many people who are interested in that, and we are also talking to them." To be honest, we're not sure who Ma is talking to at Yahoo because we have no idea who is in charge over there. As far as we know, it's Home Alone time at Yahoo, not that former CEO Carol Bartz was much of a parental figure before she was dumped last month, even though she did frequently use adult language That said, we do know Yahoo is up to something because the company has retained investment bank Allen & Co. to help it conduct a long-term "strategic review." And while Yahoo founder Jerry Yang apparently told the troops that the company was not for sale, we aren't sure how much weight Yang carries anymore since he moronically passed on Microsoft's $33 a share bid back in 2008. Ma says he is planning to spend the next year in the United States learning more about the country and the market. If he is really interested in buying Yahoo then he may want to spend most of his tour studying the ways of Washington D.C. because it would be really hard for the government to sign off on such a deal, considering all the hacking that goes on over in China. And Ma may want to make a few friends on Wall Street as well since he scared off shareholders this summer by slyly transferring Alipay, China's most popular online-payment service, to a Chinese company under his control. But if Ma beats those odds and pulls off this purchase it would actually be more like Freaky Friday, where the child becomes the parent, than any Macaulay Culkin movie. In 2005, Alibaba Group sold a 40% stake of itself to Yahoo for $1 billion. A share sale last month to investors valued closely held Alibaba at $32 billion. Yeah, that's some serious role reversal.
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