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Yahoo!'s Shares Rise on Takeover Talk by Alibaba CEO

Yahoo!'s shares rose Monday after the CEO of the Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group Holding says he would be "very interested" in buying the company.

Yahoo
CNBC.com
Yahoo

Jack Ma made the statement in response to a question during a speaking engagement at Stanford University on Friday, said John Spelich, a spokesman for Alibaba.

Ma also told the audience that prospective buyers had approached Alibaba to discuss a possible purchase for Yahoo , Spelich said late Saturday. The spokesman did not identify the prospective buyers.

In early trading Monday, Yahoo's shares were up 3 percent at $13.62.

Yahoo is trying to decide whether to sell part or all of itself following the firing last month of Carol Bartz as CEO. Employees were told in an email in late September that the process could take several months. In the meantime, there will be much speculation about who might be interested in the company.

Dana Lengkeek, a Yahoo spokeswoman, said the company had no comment on Ma's remarks. Yahoo owns about 40 percent of Alibaba.

Bartz was fired because she was unable to boost Yahoo's advertising revenue and make the company more competitive with Google and Facebook. Yahoo's net revenue—the amount the company keeps after paying advertising commissions—fell 5 percent in the second quarter. Google's revenue soared 36 percent.

The company is also searching for a new CEO, while also considering whether to sell itself. Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse is serving as interim chief executive while the search for a successor to Bartz continues.