Yahoo!'s Alibaba Treasure Will Have to Wait

Tickers in this article: YHOO

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yahoo!'s crown jewel has always been its stake in Alibaba, as the Chinese Internet giant has continued to soar in value. With a valuation approaching $100 billion, the time for Alibaba to realize the benefits of its empire is getting closer. It's just not imminent, however.

The China Perspective reported Alibaba Group has applied for a listing in the Hong Kong stock exchange, but the company said that was not true.

"No truth to the reports," Alibaba spokesman John Spelich said in an email. "We have no timetable. We have not hired banks. And we have not selected a location."

In September 2012, Yahoo! sold about half of its original 40% stake in Alibaba. The sale netted $7.6 billion before taxes; $3 billion from that sale, or 85% of its net cash proceeds, was returned to shareholders in a stock buyback. As part of that deal, Yahoo! agreed to sell half of its remaining 24% stake in the event of an Alibaba IPO.

Yahoo! acquired the stake in 2005 for $1 billion in a deal spearheaded by Jerry Yang, Yahoo!'s co-founder.

According to Yahoo's recent earnings report, Alibaba has continued to perform exceptionally well. The Chinese-based Alibaba provided Yahoo! with net income of $669 million in the quarter, up 203% year-over-year, as revenue rose 71% during the same timeframe. That strong performance helped Yahoo! shares rise 8% on July 17, the day following Yahoo!'s earnings, to a five-year high.

Since Yahoo! hired new CEO Marissa Mayer in July 2012, Yahoo's stock has climbed more than 85%. This growth has been driven mainly by stock buybacks financed by the initial 2012 sale of Yahoo's Alibaba stake.

Yahoo!'s shares were falling 1.54% to $27.43 in early Tuesday trading.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia and Laura Berman in New York

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