Yahoo! shares haven't been wowing investors to start 2014: the company's stock is actually down by 10 percent to start the year, but that isn't spooking everyone. Shares shot up Wednesday, as rumors kicked into gear regarding the IPO of Marissa Mayer's crown jewel of an asset, Alibaba -- much of Yahoo!'s market capitalization is tied up in its Alibaba stake, and some investors are fearful that the billions the company will reap could be foolishly squandered on M&A. One way that could be avoided is if the unexpected happens, and Alibaba acquires Yahoo! to bolster its U.S. footprint in advance of the IPO.

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