May 25, 2012 / 2:13 AM / 6 years ago

Alibaba.com says 83.8 percent of shareholders back privatization

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Alibaba.com Ltd 1688.HK, Hong Kong-listed unit of China’s Alibaba Group ALIAB.UL, said on Friday that 83.8 percent of its shareholders have approved a $2.5 billion buyout offer by the parent to take the company private, in a decision that was widely expected.

Alibaba Group, in which Yahoo Inc YHOO.O owns a 40 percent stake, is offering investors HK$13.50 ($1.74) per share in cash to take Alibaba.com private, the same price as the company’s initial public offering in 2007.

Shares of Alibaba.com, which were suspended on Friday, closed on Thursday at HK$13.42.

Jack Ma, who founded an e-commerce empire from a single website, said the move to take Alibaba.com private was to ensure the company could take long-term decisions that would benefit customers.

For the past few quarters, Alibaba.com’s results have been weighed down by economic uncertainty and declining subscriber numbers as the company moved towards a value-added-services business model.

Earlier this week, Yahoo and Alibaba reached an agreement for Yahoo to sell as much as half of its 40 percent stake in Alibaba Group for $7.1 billion, ending years of fractious talks over how to extract value from its most prized asset.

($1 = 7.7633 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting By Melanie Lee and Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Chris Lewis

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