Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How to spend $750 million too fast

Interfax China, via reports that Jack Ma of has spent $750 million of the $1 billion invested last year by Yahoo! on buying out VCs and paying down staff options.

"Softbank has cashed out its stake in Taobao, some VCs, who have been with us for more than five years have cashed out, and some of our staff members have cashed out," Ma is reported as saying.

The article goes on to note "Ma, meanwhile, commented on rumors that Alibaba has not yet received Yahoo's investment in full. 'The truth is that we have received every penny but I have just spent it too fast,' Ma said". Nice mistake to be able to make, Jack. Especially when you have $250mn still in the bank and another $82 mn raised from private equity last year.

Talking of which, the article touches on what Alibaba might spend this on. Guess what? Vertical search: "We found there are many excellent vertical Web sites, we hope to form strategic alliance with them or invest in some vertical Web sites," Ma said.

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