The Alibaba Group has indicated that they have strong interest in acquiring Yahoo, Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO). However, this is something that even Jack Ma, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alibaba Group, understands will be complicated.
Ma made this indication when he was at Stanford University on Friday, for China 2.0: Transforming Media and Commerce.
We believe if Jack Ma was to become Yahoo's CEO it could potentially re-energize a company tired of marketshare losses in both its display and search marketplaces, Susquehanna Financial analyst, Herman Leung, wrote in a note to clients.
Industry observers do know that Ma wants to reacquire part, if not all of, the 43 percent stake that Yahoo holds and could just buy the company outright.
The analyst believes that though a leveraged buyout is possible, it is more complex. However, a potential acquisition by corporates such as the Alibaba Group, Microsoft or traditional media could make more sense, given the strategic value.
We believe it is likely because of: 1) multiple parties involved; and 2) ability to raise capital in a difficult environment, Leung noted.
Another interesting takeaway from Ma's keynote speech at Stanford was that he highlighted the acquisition of Yahoo China as somewhat of a mistake. He did, however, add that he has learned a lot from the transaction, including a much better understanding of Yahoo U.S. This could be another reason why the Alibaba Group believes it could be a much better fit to acquire Yahoo as a whole.
For the Alibaba Group, an acquisition of its own shares in a Yahoo transaction could be tax free but might potentially need to be structured as two separate but simultaneous transactions (one for Alibaba shares, one for the rest of Yahoo's assets).
Meanwhile, raising the capital required by the Group might be challenging, given the markets.
Leung has a neutral rating and $15 price target on Yahoo stock, which closed Friday's regular trading session at $13.17 on Nasdaq.