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Yahoo Stock Rises on Alibaba Takeover Speculation, Cost-Cutting Estimates

Yahoo shares climbed more than 3% Monday, amid speculation that Alibaba Group may be poised to swoop in and acquire the Internet media company and after Yahoo company revealed projected charges related to its 15% workforce reduction.

On Monday, Alibaba said that chairman Jack Ma and vice chairman Joe Tsai will spend around $500 million of their own cash to buy back shares in the Chinese ecommerce company. That’s part of a $4 billion share buyback program announced last August.

Yahoo has said it is approaching buyers potentially interested in all or part of the company — and Alibaba’s financial moves have some investors wondering if the Chinese conglomerate is ready to make a play for Yahoo. Others reportedly interested in making a bid for Yahoo include Comcast, Time Inc., Verizon and AT&T.

Last year Yahoo planned to spin off the 15% remaining stake in Alibaba that it owns. But citing the risk of a tax penalty,it reversed course in December and said it would move forward on a reverse spin-off of the Yahoo business.

Last week, Alibaba was reported to be seeking a $3 billion-$4 billion loan for acquisitions, suggesting it is moving to expand its growth through M&A.

Meanwhile, Yahoo said in an SEC filing late Friday that it expects to incur a total of $64 million to $78 million in pre-tax charges associated with laying off 15% of its employee base.

Of that, $40 million to $48 million will be for severance pay expenses and related cash expenditures, while $17 million to $21 million are related to the consolidation and exit of facilities related to non-cancelable lease costs and other related costs. In addition, the company estimates that it will incur pre-tax non-cash charges of $6 million to $8 million related to stock-based compensation expense and $1 million related to impairment costs.

Yahoo said it expects to recognize most of the restructuring charges in the first quarter of 2016.

Yahoo’s board and CEO Marissa Mayer face a looming proxy fight, led by activist investor Starboard Value, which has previously said it plans to nominate a slate of new directors prior to the March 26 proxy-filing deadline. Earlier this month, Yahoo disclosed that Charles Schwab, chairman of the Charles Schwab Corp. and a Mayer ally, resigned from the company’s board.

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