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Yahoo Selling Alibaba & Yahoo Japan Shares, Intensifies CEO Search

Alibaba GroupYahoo! is considering the sale of its assests in Alibaba, the Chinese B2B Search Marketplace conglomerate, and Yahoo Japan. The move would score the company around $17 billion as it tries to find solid footing in troublesome year, reports Sean Ludwig of VentureBeat.

The company is expected to sell its entire stake of Yahoo Japan back to majority shareholder Softbank, and sell most of its stake in huge Chinese Internet company Alibaba, according to the New York Times. It will likely keep a 15 percent stake of Alibaba Group.

Yahoo had originally invested $1 billion in Alibaba in 2005 (then reinvested during its IPO) and with Yahoo Japan serving Google Search results.

Also, Yahoo has intensified its difficult search for a CEO replacement, AllThingsD reporting. Potential candidates in the running include Google business lead Nikesh Arora, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, and Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson.

Yahoo has been shaky in 2011 with falling revenues and uncertainty after the firing of CEO Carol Bartz. A cash infusion and and restructuring of assets might be just the thing to help the company find its center again.

The search for a new Yahoo CEO — which is being led by director Patti Hart, and is being conducted by Heidrick & Struggles — had been mostly sidelined until recently, as the board solicited bids for a partial investment from PE firms.

Thanks to the Asian asset sale and CEO rumors, Yahoo’s stock on the Nasdaq exchange increased nearly 6 percent, and now sits at about $16 a share.

Quote from an analyst whose investment bank is currently an advisor to Yahoo on its strategic options:

“Yahoo simply faces too many competitive and structural headwinds to believe any kind of meaningful turnaround is possible. While there is significant asset value on the balance sheet and in the company’s large, though increasingly less engaged user base, we continue to believe, as we have since before the first Microsoft offer, that the segment of management driving the company is intent on trying to revive Yahoo as a company, regardless of the cost to shareholders.”

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