Ma Urges Yahoo to Move Faster

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Ma Urges Yahoo to Move Faster


Alibaba Group CEO and Chairman Jack Ma occasionally stresses the need for entrepreneurs and companies to exercise patience. But even this avid Tai Chi practitioner won’t wait forever for Yahoo directors to decide what they want to do with the ailing U.S. Internet giant.

On stage at the AsiaD technology conference held today in Hong Kong, Ma was (inevitably) asked about his well-publicized interest in buying out Yahoo’s 39% stake in Alibaba Group, or in buying Yahoo whole. “We still have not changed out mind, we still have strong interest in Yahoo,” Ma said. “We are waiting for (Yahoo’s) independent directors to tell us what options they want to pursue.”

Alibaba has been working with Yahoo for years on a deal without result. Money is not the problem,Ma said after being asked about an offhand statement he made recently about how he had put together $20 billion to buy Yahoo. “I don’t have $20 billion,” he explained. But there are sufficient investors interested in Yahoo to make a deal happen.”We never think finance is a problem, the money is there,” Ma said. “The problem is what Yahoo wants to do.”

Ma’s remarks indicated the longstanding inability of Yahoo and Alibaba to agree on substantive issues is no closer to resolution.Minutes before Ma took the stage, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, who is a director at both Yahoo and Alibaba Group, told the AsiaD audience that Yahoo’s board is continuing a strategic review of the company’s business and future. “The intent going in is not to put ourselves for sale,” Yang said. “The intent is to look at all the options.”

But Ma hinted that time is a factor and Yahoo’s search for direction cannot continue indefinitely. “I know they have a lot of options,” Ma said. “But they have to make one decision.”

“First, we are ready,” Ma said.”Second, we also have options. Third, we are eagerly awaiting answers,” he said, concluding with what seemed to be a not-so-cryptic Chinese metaphor: “All the beautiful flowers withdraw very quickly.”

Watch video highlights of Ma’s interviewon AllThingsD

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