Amid Dispute, Yahoo, Alibaba Play Nice

A half-hearted attempt to get along

Yahoo and Alibaba are trying not to fight in front of the shareholders. In their first jointly released statement, the California-based company and the Chinese internet powerhouse are reassuring investors that a recently revealed dispute will not weaken their five-year partnership.

"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," said the Alibaba-Yahoo statement.

The brief press release is referring to the recent controversy over Alibaba’s transferal of its online payment unit, Alipay, to a wholly owned Chinese company owned by Alibaba’s chief executive, Jack Ma. Yahoo brought the transfer to light in a regulatory filing last week, saying the company was unaware that the transfer had taken place. The company’s stock subsequently took a $2 billion blow when the trading floor got wind of the transfer.

Yahoo is barely able to stay in the U.S. search engine game, and for investors the company’s 43 percent stake in Alibaba is seen as a significant buoy to an otherwise lackluster enterprise. In its defense, Alibaba said China’s ever-tightening Internet regulations are making joint ventures in certain areas near impossible to maintain. However, the Chinese company’s attempt to buy back Yahoo’s shares last year indicate that perhaps Yahoo needs Alibaba much more than Alibaba needs Yahoo.

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