Alibaba says no decision on joint Yahoo bid

Alibaba is working with Softbank and private equity firms to bid for Yahoo, according to reports

Alibaba Group said it has not decided to be part of a bid for the whole of Yahoo, countering reports that the Chinese company is in talks with private equity firms to make such a bid.

Alibaba and Japan's Softbank are working with private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital to make a bid for all of Yahoo, said news reports on Wednesday.

Alibaba Group spokesman John Spelich, however, denied the reports. "Alibaba Group has not made a decision to be part of a whole company bid for Yahoo," he said on Thursday.

Softbank declined to comment on the reports. The company holds a 32.6 percent stake in Alibaba. Yahoo holds a 35 percent share in Yahoo Japan, which is a Softbank subsidiary. In August, Softbank sold nearly all of its 4 percent stake in Yahoo to repay a US$1.1 billion loan from Citibank.

In late September, Alibaba Group's CEO Jack Ma said publicly he was interested in acquiring Yahoo, which already owns a 40 percent stake in the Chinese company as part of a deal made in 2005.

Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company, has previously held talks with Yahoo about trying to buy back that stake, after the two companies have clashed over different business issues. But the talks ended without an agreement.

[Jay Alabaster in Tokyo contributed to this report]

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