Ablibaba, Yahoo, softbank reach agreement

11:06, July 30, 2011      

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The Alibaba Group said late Friday that the company and its major shareholders Yahoo! Inc. and Japan's Softbank Corp. have come to an agreement to settle a dispute over the status of Alibaba's popular online payment platform Alipay.

The dispute arose in May when Alipay was separated from Alibaba to become its own business entity controlled by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma.

Yahoo, which owns 43 percent of Alibaba Group, has complained that it was not notified of the decision to split off Alipay.

Under the new agreement, Alipay will continue to provide payment services to the Alibaba Group and its subsidiaries including Taobao, China's largest online shopping website, on preferential terms.

Meanwhile, Alibaba will continue to participate in Alipay's future financial performance.

Also, Alibaba will receive 37.5 percent of Alipay's total market value when it launches an IPO in the future, which is no less than 2 billion and no more than $6 billion.

The deal also said that Alibaba will provide technical and intellectual assistance to Alipay and its subsidiaries. In return, Alipay should pay 49.9 percent of its pretax profits to Alibaba.

Alipay and its subsidiaries can stop the payment after the IPO, according to the agreement.

In response to the dispute, Ma said earlier that splitting Alipay off was done to secure a license from China's central bank, and without the decision being taken, Alipay and even Alibaba could have been "paralyzed."

The central bank last September issued a requirement that all payment-services companies in the country must obtain a license, which can only be granted to Chinese-owned entities.

Ma also insisted that Alibaba's stakeholders including Yahoo and Softbank were informed of the transfer of ownership early on.

Source: Xinhua
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