Yahoo, Alibaba, Softbank say making progress on Alipay

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 22, 2011 1:06 PM
Yahoo, Alibaba, Softbank say making progress on Alipay

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc, Alibaba Group, Softbank Corp said on Wednesday they have made "substantive and encouraging progress" toward an agreement over the Chinese company's Alipay e-payment unit Alipay.

"Our objective is to reach an agreement in a timely manner that serves the interests of all stakeholders. The companies will not comment in further detail until it is appropriate to do so," the companies said in a joint statement.

The three companies are involved in a high profile tussle over the Alibaba's transfer of its e-payment unit, Alipay, to a company wholly owned by Ma. Yahoo had said it was unaware of the transfer until recently, while Alibaba countered that Yahoo had known the change was coming, as the matter was discussed at the board level where Yahoo and Softbank hold seats.

Softbank's Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said on Monday he saw resolution to the Alipay issue soon.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group that is 40 percent owned by Yahoo and about 30 percent owned by Softbank, had said last week that Son was a wedge in the resolution of the issue.

Alibaba Group said the transfer of Alipay was necessary to comply with new Chinese regulations that restricted foreign ownership in e-payment companies.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Kazunori Takada)