Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma wants Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and SoftBank to give up some of their stake in the Chinese internet company. “We want to get back some of the shares to make sure the company is getting healthier,” said Ma, the largest indiviudal shareholder. The three companies most recently have been sparring over the recent Alipay spinoff; Yahoo owns 39 percent of Alibaba.
“If we can do something with just that I would be very happy,” Ma added, during the interview with Kara Swisher at the end of a long afternoon at D: All Things Digital.
Ma described the conversations, which have calmed down a bit publicly since the opening rhetoric, as “peace talks” with all the complications that come from multiple, diverse goals. “Peace talks are always difficult.”
Under Swisher’s questioning, Ma referred to a tense first meeting with Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, who expressed unhappiness with the way the U.S. company’s foray into China was going. Slyly added: ‘”I would be very happy if Yahoo USA would come back.”
Asked from the audience what advice he would give Yahoo, “I have great respect for people in U.S. Fighting to turn around Yahoo. I think Yahoo probably should be more open-minded in using various ways to solve its problems.” He suggests going smaller and, it sounds like, going private rather than have to respond constantly to outside forces.
Here’s the ATD live blog.