The board of Yahoo is considering a sale of the bulk of the company’s valuable holdings in the Alibaba Group of China and Yahoo’s Japanese affiliate back to their majority owners in a complicated transaction that values the stakes at about $17 billion, according to people briefed on the matter.
Yahoo’s board is expected to meet Thursday to discuss the broad outlines of the offer. If directors approve the plan, they may also decide to reject separate investment proposals by Silver Lake and TPG Capital that would have given control of the company to the private equity firms and Yahoo’s management, said some of these people, who, like the others contacted for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity.
By reducing its investments in Asia — which many investors had considered the company’s crown jewels — Yahoo would get a big cash infusion at a time when it was trying to revive its core United States operations, which have long suffered from declining revenue and an exodus of senior employees. While Yahoo has failed to keep up with the surging popularity of Internet rivals like Facebook, it still runs one of the most popular portals on the Web, with more than 113 million users a month.
The proposal values Yahoo’s 40 percent in Alibaba at about $12 billion and its 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan at about $5 billion. It could be executed either as a stand-alone deal or alongside a minority investment in Yahoo by Silver Lake or TPG.