Tue, May 17, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo, Alibaba in talks over payment firm Alipay

DISPUTE:Last week Yahoo filed a complaint with the US SEC saying Alibaba had transferred ownership of Alipay without notifying its shareholders — including Yahoo

AFP, NEW YORK

Yahoo and Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba said on Sunday they were holding talks over Alipay (支付寶), the online payment company whose ownership has sparked tensions between the Internet giants.

Yahoo, which holds a large shareholding in Alibaba (阿里巴巴), and Alibaba issued a one-sentence joint statement addressing the controversy over ownership of Alipay, Alibaba’s payment service.

“Alibaba Group, and its major stockholders Yahoo Inc and Softbank Corporation, are engaged in and committed to productive negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues related to Alipay in a manner that serves the interests of all shareholders as soon as possible,” the statement said.

Yahoo filed paperwork last week notifying the US Securities and Exchange Commission that ownership of Alipay had been shifted to a Chinese company owned mostly by Alibaba chief executive Jack Ma (馬雲).

In the filing, Yahoo said the transfer was done without the knowledge or approval of Alibaba’s board of directors or shareholders. Yahoo owns a 43 percent stake in Alibaba and an estimated 40 percent share of Alipay.

According to Yahoo, the transfer of ownership was made in August although it and Japan’s Softbank, another major Alibaba stakeholder, were only informed in March.

Ma on Saturday said the transfer of ownership of Alipay was “legal and 100 percent transparent.”

“The board and shareholders including Yahoo and Softbank Corp are fully aware of the ownership transfer of Alipay,” Ma was quoted as saying by Dow Jones Newswires.

His comments come after the firm issued a statement on Friday, saying the transfer was done to “comply with Chinese law governing payment companies in order to secure a license to continue operating Alipay.”

“The actions taken by Alibaba Group management to comply with the licensing regulations and to ensure continuation of operations are in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” the statement said.

Yahoo shares have been sliding amid the dispute with Alibaba over Alipay.

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