Yahoo to Spin Off Web Business, Keep Alibaba

Yahoo plans to spin off its web assets and Yahoo Japan into a new company, keeping its $31 billion stake in Alibaba.

"In the reverse spin off, Yahoo's assets and liabilities other than the Alibaba stake would be transferred to a newly formed company, the stock of which would be distributed pro rata to Yahoo shareholders resulting in two separate publicly-traded companies," the company said in a statement.

Or, as my friend and former colleague Kim Davis put it on Twitter, "the Alibaba bit of Yahoo sells the rest." Davis is editor of the The Hub, a marketing technology website.

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Yahoo had earlier considered spinning off Alibaba and keeping the rest, but was "concerned about the market's perception of task risk," Yahoo Chairman Maynard Webb said in the Yahoo statement. While Yahoo believed the transaction would have been tax-free, investors were concerned taxes would be high, and that would have been a drag on stock performance.

Yahoo's stock on the new plan would be $40 per share, compared with $32 under the original strategy, according to an investment note by Citigroup analyst Mark May, as reported by The New York Times.

Both SoftBank and Verizon have been named as possible buyers for Yahoo's Internet businesses. (See Could SoftBank Buy Yahoo? and Verizon CFO: Yahoo Acquisition Talk 'Way Too Premature'.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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Mitch Wagner 12/11/2015 | 10:21:58 AM
Re: Mayer gets another year at the helm? Many people feel commenting is just an invitation to abuse. There is some value to that proposition. Certainly here at Light Reading we have to work to keep the comments section clean and high-value (with help from folks like you!).  

Instead of commenting on someone else's Tumblr post, the custom on Tumblr is to "reblog" it -- similar to retweeting -- and add your own comment on your own blog. 

It works for a great many people. 
Mitch Wagner 12/11/2015 | 10:19:27 AM
Re: Twins are here... They can hire nannies for the nannies. 
Ariella 12/10/2015 | 6:26:06 PM
Re: Twins are here... @mhhf1ve yes, but she and her husband can afford to hire multiple nannies. 
mhhf1ve 12/10/2015 | 5:26:24 PM
Twins are here... Oh. And it appears that Mayer has delivered twins today. Wow. She is going to have her hands very full for the next year. 
mhhf1ve 12/10/2015 | 5:25:14 PM
Re: Mayer gets another year at the helm? Tumblr's lack of commenting is a really curious decision. I understand that commenting systems have become almost an entire other industry, separate from blogging or microblogging. But really? What's the big difference? You need a database to store and deliver text... I suppose it would have been a distraction to try to tack on a commenting system, but I think comments are a huge value add to any publishing platform. 

Mitch Wagner 12/10/2015 | 5:16:34 PM
Re: Mayer gets another year at the helm? Tumblr lacks commenting, a basic prerequisite for a social network. It seems to be designed for pseudonymous and special-interest posts. It's a hybrid blog platform and social network, not quite like anything else still on the market, although it had a couple of competitors. 
mhhf1ve 12/10/2015 | 1:09:25 PM
Re: Mayer gets another year at the helm? RE: Tumblr. I *think* the strategy for it was like buying the next Facebook or Instagram/WhatsApp... But I'm not sure Tumblr was ever really in that position. Maybe if Tumblr had more social networking inherent in using it? But Tumblr doesn't seem to have the same kind of social hooks as Snapchat or Instagram. And after Yahoo acquired Tumblr, I haven't really heard much buzz around Tumblr. I think Medium is getting more attention. Or even Wordpress.

Tumblr and Flickr could have combined to be really cool... but... Yahoo just doesn't seem to know how to capitalize on the synergies of its acquisitions (not that anyone else does, either, but Yahoo seems to have a longer history than most of buying startups and then letting those startups wither on the vine).
Ariella 12/10/2015 | 10:59:49 AM
Re: Mayer gets another year at the helm? Indeed, @mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve 12/10/2015 | 10:55:02 AM
Re: Customer data? Hmm. I wonder what the shelf life of customer data really is... It's probably nearly worthless after a year or so? 

I wonder how much Yahoo datacenters are worth.... I've tried to watch a few of Yahoo's streaming videos.. and I think Yahoo might be better off using AWS like Netflix does? 

Mitch Wagner 12/10/2015 | 10:48:54 AM
Customer data? Yahoo might find buyers interested in 20 years of customer data on millions of people. 
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