NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Experts on Yahoo! ( YHOO) 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) 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) 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.