Yahoo close to selling its stake in Japanese JV

Yahoo could soon sell its Japanese joint venture to free up as much as $8bn (£4.9bn) to fight Google and Facebook in its core markets.

A deal to transfer Yahoo’s 35 per cent stake in Yahoo Japan to Softbank, which already controls 42 per cent of the unit, could come within a few weeks, people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Yahoo is also said to be exploring options for its 40 per cent stake in China’s Alibaba Group, the parent company of Alibaba.com, which is also partly owned by Softbank.

Relations between Yahoo and its Asian partners Softbank and Alibaba have soured in recent years with Alibaba founder Jack Ma agitating to buy back Yahoo’s stake in his company and Softbank founder and major shareholder Masayoshi Son openly attacking Yahoo’s track record as an innovator and its approach to international markets.

Softbank says it is not in talks with Yahoo.

As much as 80 per cent of Yahoo’s market value is tied up in its Asian assets. Chief executive Carol Bartz is under pressure to turn around the once mighty company, which has lost traffic to the likes of Google and Facebook.