Shares of Yahoo! (YHOO) climbed more than 3% Wednesday morning in the wake of reports the struggling Internet company is in talks to unload its stake in its Japanese joint venture for around $8 billion.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! is mulling selling its stake in Yahoo Japan, among “many other option,” though no deal is near.
Reuters had reported Yahoo! is in talks to exit Yahoo Japan in a deal that could come within weeks and net the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company $8 billion.
However, Japan’s Softbank, which is the largest shareholder in Yahoo Japan with a 41.9% stake, said it is not in talks with Yahoo to acquire its 30% stake in the joint venture.
Yahoo!, which is being advised by UBS (UBS), first entered the Japanese market in 1996 with help from Softbank, the country’s No. 3 mobile phone carrier.
In the wake of the sale reports, Evercore Partners upgraded Yahoo! to “overweight,” saying a tax-efficient Yahoo Japan separation is likely. A tax-efficient exit could make the asset worth $5.20 per Yahoo share, Evercore estimated, compared with most estimates for just $2.80 a share.
If a deal is reached on Yahoo Japan, Yahoo! is likely to decide what to do with its 40% stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group, Reuters reported. Yahoo! and Alibaba have previously held talks about a potential sale of part of Yahoo!’s stake, the Journal reported.