Although the company has so far refused to make any comment on Microsoft’s unsolicitied bid to take over Yahoo for $44.6 billion, Chinese Internet portal Alibaba is reportedly positioning itself to retain independent control of its operations should the deal go through.
Yahoo owns a 39 percent stake in Alibaba—making it Alibaba’s single largest shareholder, ahead of Japan’s Softbank—and the company runs Yahoo’s operations in China as well as several other Internet businesses. Alibaba chairman Jack Ma has retained de facto control over the company’s operations. According to industry reports and sources close to Yahoo’s China operations, Alibaba would seek to retain control of its own operations in the event Microsoft acquires Yahoo, even to the extent of buying out of Yahoo’s investment in the company.
Microsoft’s interest in Yahoo is said to concern Beijing authorities, who are vary wary of foreign control of Chinese businesses, are are especially leery of Microsoft, given the company’s long history of monopolistic policies and practices. Microsoft is still operating under a consent decree with the U.S. government from abuse of its monopoly power in the operating systems market, and only recently decided to quit its antitrust battle with the European Union over disclosing protocols so third party products could interoperate with Microsoft server technologies.