Yahoo backs Alibaba's management as IPO debate goes on

HONG KONG Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:09am EDT

The Yahoo logo is shown at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The Yahoo logo is shown at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California April 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc joined Japan's SoftBank Corp on Friday in backing Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's planned partnership structure.

The U.S. Internet company, Alibaba's second-largest shareholder with a 24 percent stake, said it's important for technology companies to be able to preserve their culture and strategy.

"As one of Alibaba's largest shareholders, Yahoo believes that management's efforts reflect the desire to govern the company for long-term success while also balancing the rights of shareholders," Jacqueline Reses, chief development officer of Yahoo and a member of Alibaba's board of directors, said in a statement.

Alibaba, which is preparing for an initial public offering valued at up to $15 billion, is looking to keep top management decisions within the partner group by giving it the right to nominate a majority of board members in the company.

The proposal has clashed with governance rules in Hong Kong, where it originally wanted to hold the IPO, prompting the company to shift its focus toward a U.S. listing. No final decision has been made.

(Reporting by Elzio Barreto and Paul Carsten; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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