Deepening its integration with brick-and-mortar stores, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) is leading a $2.6B bid to privatize Intime Retail Group (OTC:INTIY), a leading department store chain with 29 outlets and 17 shopping malls across China.
In 2015, Alibaba acquired a 20% stake in Suning, which operates over 1,600 Chinese stores that sell consumer electronics and appliances.
In new proxy materials submitted to the SEC, Yahoo (YHOO +0.3%) has revealed that the company that will remain after core assets are sold to Verizon (VZ -1.1%) will be called Altaba.
That's the entity that will hold $36B in shares of Alibaba (BABA +0.9%) after Verizon takes most of the rest.
Following the closing, Marissa Mayer and others will resign from a board that will shrink to five members: Tor Braham, Eric Brandt, Catherine Friedman, Thomas McInerney and Jeffey Smith, with Brandt serving as chairman.
At closing, Mayer will leave along with co-founder David Filo, Eddy Hartenstein, Richard Hill, Jane Shaw and Maynard Webb (who will become chairman emeritus).
While earlier Verizon interest excluded Yahoo's patent portfolio and real estate, the current talks do reportedly include the real estate.
Yahoo had set aside about 3,000 patents into a subsidiary called Excalibur for separate auction by Black Stone IP, though other bidders like AT&T (T +1.5%) or a group with Quicken Loans' Dan Gilbert (still reportedly talking with Yahoo) or an aggressive TPG might yet want to buy the IP along with core assets.
The deal would be a "great outcome," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says, with time of the essence since "the real value here is unlocking Yahoo Japan and Alibaba (BABA +0.1%) in a cash-free transaction. And they really need to get that done before the election."
The $5B figure is still a bit low, Munster says, as he expects the deal to be around $6B. "If you look at the tax benefit for Yahoo Japan and Alibaba, that's about a $10B or $11B tax benefit, so a billion dollars here and there doesn't make much difference; there's still upside to Yahoo shares."
Shari Redstone, has been in direct contact with Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) founder Jack Ma in connection to a sale of Paramount Pictures, sources told the NY Post.
Meanwhile, National Amusements - Viacom's (VIA, VIAB) controlling shareholder - has started talks with investment banks about the Paramount sales process to gather more information about a potential deal.
Viacom had hoped to use the proceeds from the expected $7B sale of 49% of the studio to pay down debt and perhaps boost its share price by $10.
Sources also said the Redstones have reached out through back channels to DreamWorks (NASDAQ:DWA) CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to see if he has an interest in running Viacom.
Hong Kong regulators say Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) broke takeover rules in its 2014 investment into CITIC 21CN with a "special deal" that favored a brother of the healthcare firm's vice chairman.
The $170M investment into CITIC, now known as Alibaba Health Information Technology, came with an agreement to also buy Hebei Huiyan Medical Technology from Chen Wen Xin, younger brother of CITIC vice chairman Chen Xiao Ying.
That's a "clear breach of the Takeovers Code," says the Takeovers and Mergers Panel with Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission.
Alibaba is considering an appeal of the ruling, saying a 533% surge in Alibaba Health means "no Alibaba Health shareholder has been unfairly affected."
With Yahoo's (YHOO +3%) first-round bid shortlist out, where was Daily Mail & General Trust (OTCPK:DMTGY)? The operators of the world's most-visited English-language website were a prominent late arrival to the Yahoo bidding scene, but took a back seat (joined by IAC, Comcast and Time Inc.) to Verizon, YP, Rakuten and private equity.
Yahoo's process may become a full-fledged saga for 2016. Not only is the existing sale process quite likely to run into June, but secondary interest in the resulting asset mix from the likes of Alibaba (BABA +0.7%), SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY -0.1%) and Daily Mail could mean even more transfers of businesses ahead.
Alibaba had a strong (if less dramatic) case to become a dark horse, since it may have been able to pull off the functional equivalent of a highly tax-advantaged buyback.
Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) didn't say anything about its sales process during its Q1 earnings webcast, and swore off giving any updates along the way.
But speculation about the shortlist is mostly on the mark, according to the latest from Reuters, which says Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) there (with help from Guggenheim, LionTree, Allen & Co.), along with Yellow Pages owner YP -- which has backing from AT&T (NYSE:T) on the bid, sources said.
Japanese online retailer Rakuten (OTCPK:RKUNY) is a new name that's kicking tires as well. Among private equity, Apax Partners, TPG, Bain Capital, Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) and Warburg Pincus are all accounted for, and may be allowed to team up in round 2.
No two offers were identical, sources said, so Yahoo now must look at the structures, assets and offers to sort out value -- hopefully in time to wrap up in June.
SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) aren't taking part -- but they could get involved with the company after the fate of its core assets is settled.
The buyout of Youku Tudou (NYSE:YOKU) by Alibaba (BABA -2.2%) is complete, the company says, following last month's shareholder approval.
The deal, about $4.2B, was completed through a merger with Alibaba merger subsdiary Ali YK Subsidiary Holding Limited. Barring excluded shares, shareholders received the equivalent of $27.60 per ADS in merger consideration.
The company has requested that trading ADS on the NYSE be suspended.
With Viacom (VIA +1%, VIAB +0.3%) looking to sell a strategic stake in Paramount Pictures, who could be interested in buying?
Foreign investors are likely, amid a wave of investment in Hollywood from overseas. China's Perfect World is putting $250M into a development slate at Universal, while in-country counterpart Bona Film Group said in November it was putting $235M into a slate at Fox.
Analysts suggest the studio is worth about $5.5B today, notes The Hollywood Reporter, so a minority stake could still come to $2B. Viacom paid $9.8B for the studio a dozen years back.
Major conglomerates like Alibaba (BABA +0.6%), Dalian Wanda and Fosun (OTCPK:FOSUF) have an appetite for Hollywood deals -- and Wanda already owns cinema chain AMC and producer Legendary Entertainment, while exploring a stake in Lions Gate. A key interest with those firms is ability to get Paramount products into China, where Transformers is a major phenomenon. Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY +0.2%) has similar international media appetites.
Fosun is trying to buy Bona and take it private, which would give it Bona's entry into Fox's slate.
Back home, Lions Gate (LGF +8.8%) is now a frequent source of tie-up rumors -- and is on the move today amid Amazon.com (AMZN +0.1%) content-deal chatter. Both Lions Gate and Amazon could use a piece of Paramount for different reasons.
Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL +1.5%) has been floated as a possible bidder for Time Warner, as it may be shopping for content to feed TV dreams -- but a stake in Paramount would come far cheaper than trying to swallow Time Warner whole for $50B-$80B.
Disclosing a price tag for the South China Morning Post, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) said it paid HK$2.06B ($266M) for the 112-year-old newspaper and other media assets of SCMP Group (OTCPK:SCPXY).
In the same filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, SCMP cited an "uncertain" future for traditional publishing as a key reason behind the sale, adding that Alibaba would likely be able to "unlock greater value" from the business.
It's shades of Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post as Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) agrees to acquire the South China Morning Post and other media assets of the SCMP Group (though Bezos' investment was his own, not Amazon's).
The 112-year-old SCMP is Hong Kong's leading English-language newspaper.
"Why is Alibaba buying into traditional media, considered by some a sunset industry," asks Alibaba's Joseph Tsai, in a letter to SCMP readers. "The simple answer is that we don't see it that way."
Backing up his CFO's comments at the UBS investor conference yesterday, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) chief Lowell McAdam today confirmed the carrier would explore buying Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) Internet business if it decided to sell.
“We’d look at it like anything else,” McAdam said, while noting it's still not clear what Yahoo's board has planned.
Verizon is one of many telecom/media firms linked (by the companies themselves or analysts) to a possible purchase of Yahoo's core; In Verizon's case, there's some strategic fit in Yahoo's content and tech business (like ad-tech company BrightRoll), though also hurdles (the biggest being the tax implications of Yahoo's Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) stake).