Shares of Yahoo! (NASDAQ: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.
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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 (NYSE: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.