Alibaba Group is seeking up to $4 billion in debt financing, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, in a deal expected to help the Chinese e-commerce giant buy back a 40 percent stake in the company owned by Yahoo Inc.

Sources close to the situation said Rothschild, which is acting as debt adviser to Alibaba, had sent out term sheets to banks requesting underwritten proposals for the debt financing. The tenor of the debt expected to be up to three years. Reuters was unable to obtain a copy of the term sheets.

Alibaba Group, founded by entrepreneur and former English teacher Jack Ma, declined to comment. Alibaba, as a parent company, holds a 73.12 percent stake in Hong Kong listed Ltd.

A Rothschild representative was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting By Stephen Aldred and Prakash Chakravarti; Additional reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Chris Lewis)