Alibaba Move Hints at Gigantic Yahoo Bid

Filings with a U.S. Senate office on Dec 23 reveal that Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group engaged top-notch lobbying firm Duberstein Group Inc. in a move, signaling the possibility of it being willing to bid for all of Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), in case a sale of Yahoo’s Asian assets fails.

In the lobbying registration documents, Softbank Corp. of Japan is listed as an Alibaba ‘affiliate’, and the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which is an M&A specialist, as an intermediary between the lobbying team and Alibaba. This is the first time ever that Alibaba has registered a lobbyist in the U.S.A.

Currently, Yahoo is mulling a complex deal valued at $17 billion involving the sale of its Asian assets to Alibaba and Softbank. Alibaba’s lobbying move indicates that it does not rule out the possibility of having to bid for all of Yahoo in case this deal falls through. And, as far as anyone knows, firms such as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and KKR (NYSE:KKR) are still mulling bids too.

Headed by Kenneth Duberstein, a former White House chief of staff under U.S. President Ronald Reagan, The Duberstein Group represents clients such as BP America Inc, Goldman Sachs & Co. and Pfizer Inc.

Here’s how shares of Yahoo are reacting to the news:

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO): YHOO shares recently traded at $15.99, up $0.21, or 1.33%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $11.09 to $18.84. Volume today was 3,157,716 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 27,025,600 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 19.57, while trailing earnings are $0.82 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brooke Edge at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com