To avoid any sense of false hype-building, we’ll admit right now: Softbank has already denied any involvement. But rumor has it that Yahoo is in discussions to sell its stake in Yahoo Japan to Softbank, and a whole lot of people are hoping that’s the case.
Yahoo Japan is, if you’ll recall, not exactly the Yahoo most Americans know. Yahoo only owns 33 percent of the organization, while Softbank controls a 42 percent stake. And Yahoo Japan’s also on a different path in other respects, considering it’s arranged to make use of Google’s search tech.
It might make sense for Yahoo to collect some cash and walk away, then, which is what a Reuters article suggested will happen. Nadia Damouni and Tim Kelly wrote earlier this morning, "Yahoo Inc is in advanced talks to leave its Japanese joint venture in an effort to sort out its dysfunctional Asian partnerships and free up as much as $8 billion to fight Google and Facebook."
In response, shares of Yahoo Japan shot up on the Tokyo Stock Exchange even as the rest of the market declined. Shares of Yahoo are up this morning, too, and Evercore upgraded its rating.
Again, though, Softbank has said nothing is in the works, telling the Dow Jones News Service, "We have no intention to acquire the shares."
We’ll be sure to report any significant developments.