NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Alibaba has hired U.S. government lobbying firm The Duberstein Group, signaling the Chinese ecommerce giant's interest in buying back Yahoo!'s ( YHOO) 40% stake in the company or forcing a takeover bid, according to Reuters reports. If Alibaba is unsuccessful in buying back its stake from Yahoo!, a takeover of the Web pioneer may be an alternative scenario as the company completes a strategic review. Previous reports have included takeover interest by private equity investors, in addition to strategic involvement by Microsoft ( MSFT), Google ( GOOG) and Asian partners Alibaba and Softbank, among others. By hiring a Washington lobbyist, Alibaba may be looking to quell political and security concerns of a Chinese takeover of Yahoo, Reuters speculate.
Alibaba may need lobbying help because an offshore bid for an online U.S. property may hit political roadblocks because of consumer data and national security concerns. Sino-American takeovers do not have a great record of success. Chinese state-owned oil giant CNOOC ( CEO) failed in an $18.4 billion bid for Los Angeles -based Unocal in 2005 because of foreign security concerns. Recently, General Motors ( GM) scuttled a deal for Chinese automakers to buy Swedish automaker's Saab to avert a liquidation on intellectual property concerns. Shares of Yahoo! were higher after the report, up over 1% to $15.96 in pre-market trading. The Sunnyvale, Ca. -based company's shares are off over 5% year-to-date. -- Written by Antoine Gara in New York
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