Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson in an undated photo.
Yahoo is laying off 2,000 employees, just three months after Scott Thompson became CEO. Thompson is facing a proxy fight from a hedge fund for control of the company. Reuters/PayPal

Shares of Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), the No. 3 search engine rose slightly after the company said it was reviewing challenged backgrounds of top executives.

By midday, Yahoo had gained 19 cents, to $15.34 or 1.4 percent, bringing the value of the Sunnyvale, Calif., media company to $18.5 billion. Before the market opened, shares had traded as high as $15.36.

Late Friday, Yahoo advised the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that CEO Scott Thompson, 54, lacks a degree in computer sciences but that director Patti Hart, 56, has a bachelor of science degree in business administration.

In earlier filings, New York shareholder Third Point Capital had raised the issues, alleging resume enhancement wasn't acceptable and that Thompson, in office only four months, should be removed. It charged Thompson's credentials in its official proxy said he had degrees in accounting and computer sciences from Stonehill College, while Hart's said she had a degree in marketing and economics from Illinois State University.

Third Point, a hedge fund managed by investor Daniel Loeb, owns 5.8 percent of Yahoo shares and has proposed a slate of directors to oppose management at the annual meeting, whose date hasn't been determined.

Third Point gave Yahoo until noon Monday EDT to respond. By 12:21, no new filings had been made to the SEC.

Separately, unconfirmed reports said Yahoo had finally devised a deal to divest some of its overseas assets for a big profit. A Reuters report said it had agreed to sell as much as 25 percent in China's Alibaba Group payment service.

Last year, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said he would be interesed in acquiring all of the search engine company immediately after CEO Carol Bartz was fired. Subsequent negotiations by Yahoo's advisers, Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co., fell apart.

Under Bartz, Yahoo took a 40 percent stake in Alibaba Group, which was valued last year as much as $8 billion.

Yahoo also owns about 20 percent of Yahoo Japan, a legacy of its original financial backing by Japan's SoftBank.

Yahoo has not announced any action regarding Alibaba nor reported it to the SEC.