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Jack Ma lining up partners

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With Alibaba chief Jack Ma’s interest in Yahoo! already on the record, it now seems that the owner of the Chinese online giant is considering a partnership for its bid.

According to this Bloomberg piece in Business Week, the potential partners – private equity outfit Silver Lake and Russian Internet company Digital Sky, in addition to Alibaba – have made contact with Yahoo!, but talks are at a very early stage. The three companies have not yet decided whether they will make a bid.

As is noted by a Hong Kong-based analyst, a joint Chinese-Russian bid for Yahoo! would almost certainly attract regulatory attention in the US. The Bloomberg piece identifies both national security and tax issues as being likely to come under scrutiny if a Silver Lake-Alibaba-Digital Sky bid is launched.

The struggling Yahoo! recently dumped its CEO in its umpteenth strategy to reignite growth.

Silver Lake has been named as a potential Yahoo! suitor since at least 2010, but so far has never proceeded with a bid.

Bloomberg says Yahoo! is fielding bids from multiple parties, citing an internal memo it has obtained. The company’s advisers, the memo says, “are fielding inquiries from multiple parties that have already expressed interest in a number of potential options”. ®

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