Baidu Not Interested in Yahoo!
Baidu CEO Robin Li expressed disinterest in acquiring US search portal Yahoo at the IT Leadership Summit in China. IT Leadership Summit panel moderator, Wu Ying posited that since Baidu’s market value (US$ 39 billion) is double Yahoo’s value (US$ 18.7 billion), buying out the stagnant Internet portal would be relatively easy. Wu also pointed out that Baidu would own 40% of Alibaba (held by Yahoo), and put pressure on Tencent. Li flat out rejected the idea.
I don’t think about killing off my rivals everyday. And I don’t think Ma Huateng (Tencent CEO ) or Jack Ma (Alibaba CEO) are my biggest rivals. I’m thinking about how to make Baidu bigger and better.
Li wants Baidu to focus on search and remain neutral in the search space while at the same time generating results. It is reported Li wants to steer Baidu into the mobile and social market space. This February, the company signed an agreement with The Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) — a research institute of the Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), to establish a research and development laboratory called the Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC) at the Fusionopolis in Singapore. Baidu also expanded operations in southern China last January.
Baidu’s stocks soared today when news hit about its partnership with Apple, where the Cupertino giant will use Baidu’s online search engine in all products running iOS, starting in April. The stock hit US$ 149.76, its biggest one-day advance over the past couple of months.
Alibaba and Yahoo are deep in negotiations over the buyback of stocks from Yahoo, which has owned 40% since 2005. It is estimated that Yahoo’s holdings in Alibaba comes to $14 billion. Alibaba wants to buy back 25% of the shares for roughly US$ 9 billion (US$ 6 billion in cash and US$ 3 billion worth of shares in one of Alibaba’s operating assets).
Li’s zen-like approach to business and competition gives him the edge in a dog eat dog industry, just for the sake of the bottom line. Baidu’s buyout of Yahoo would certainly have given the aging Web pioneer a boost — at a time when Yahoo is scrambling to retain its long-forgotten dominance of the Internet.