(Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group has offered to take its Hong Kong-listed unit Alibaba.com private at a cost of around HK$19.6 billion ($2.5 billion), a move it said was not related to a possible deal with Yahoo Inc on buying back Yahoo's stake in the Chinese Internet giant.

Alibaba Group, founded by Jack Ma, is offering investors HK$13.50 ($1.74) in cash per share to take Alibaba.com private, the same as its initial public offering price in 2007, the two said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange late on Tuesday.

That implies a premium of more than 60 percent over its 60-day average closing price, Alibaba said. Alibaba.com's shares closed at HK$9.25 on February 8 before being suspended pending an announcement - a 12-week closing high, but down 30 percent from last July. The stock will resume trading on Wednesday.

Taking Alibaba.com private will allow our company to make long-term decisions that are in the best interest of our customers and that are also free from the pressures that come from having a publicly listed company, Ma, who is chairman of Alibaba Group and board chair of Alibaba.com, said.

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