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投资理财

杨致远:在中国投资最成功的美国人?

Miguel Helft 2014年09月23日

对阿里巴巴的投资让这位雅虎联合创始人和前任首席执行官净赚数百亿美元,而且雅虎可能已经因此得救。

????

????杨致远是互联网标志性企业雅虎(Yahoo)的联合创始人,但公司的许多长期股东并不是特别喜欢他。

????微软(Microsoft)打算斥资440亿美元收购雅虎时,是杨致远破坏了收购谈判,许多人因此责怪他。把微软拒之门外的最终决定让股东一度损失了数百亿美元,雅虎的市值曾跌至微软报价的三分之一左右。杨致远的18个月首席执行官生涯乏善可陈,2009年卸任时,股东对他未能扭转雅虎的颓势颇为不满。

????现在,股东们也许可以释怀了。

????毕竟,是杨致远策划了2005年对阿里巴巴(Alibaba)的10亿美元投资,雅虎因此获得了阿里巴巴40%的股份。对于这家陷入困境的互联网先锋企业而言,这无疑是一笔改变命运的投资。

????雅虎长期股东、对冲基金Ironfire Capital创始人埃里克?杰克森说:“这是有史以来美国公司在中国最成功的投资。杨致远是其中的大功臣。”杰克森通常对雅虎管理层和董事会持批评态度,难得他能这样评价杨致远。

????这些年,雅虎经常因为错失绝佳机会而遭人嘲笑。该公司也曾拟议与谷歌(Google)合作。尽管收购了发明搜索营销的Overture,雅虎并没有在这个市场胜出。它也未能以10亿美元的报价收购Facebook。但阿里巴巴没有从雅虎手中溜走,而且带来了回报。

????这笔投资价值多少呢?目前雅虎仍持有22%的阿里巴巴股份。市场预期阿里巴巴首次公开募股的市值为1600亿美元,那么雅虎所持股份的价值就会超过350亿美元,占雅虎目前420亿市值的大部分。(更新:上市首日阿里巴巴市值达到2314亿美元,目前雅虎所持股份价值为509亿美元——译注)两年前,雅虎曾转让了一部分阿里巴巴股份,获得净收益76亿美元。如果不是迫于阿里巴巴首席执行官马云的压力而进行了那次股份转让,雅虎对阿里巴巴的投资价值应该更高。不过,当时杨致远已经离开了雅虎,也不是董事会成员。

????从某种角度来说,对阿里巴巴的投资远远弥补了杨致远在雅虎时犯下的所有错误。阿里巴巴已在9月19日上市,在此我们只能代表雅虎股东说一句:“谢谢你,杨致远。”

????译者:Charlie

????Jerry Yang co-founded the Internet icon Yahoo, but that doesn’t make him particularly popular with many of the company’s longtime shareholders.

????Many blame Yang for bungling negotiations with Microsoft over that company’s attempted $44 billion takeover. The decision to ultimately reject Microsoft’s offer cost shareholders tens of billions of dollars, at least initially, after Yahoo’s market value dropped to about one-third of what Microsoft offered. Yang’s lackluster, 18-month tenure as CEO ended in 2009 with shareholders unhappy about his inability to turn the company around.

????It may be time for shareholders to forgive and forget.

????After all, it was Yang who was the architect of the $1 billion investment in Alibaba in 2005, which gave Yahoo a 40% stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant. Call it a life-changing investment for the now-struggling Internet pioneer.

????“It’s the best investment an American company has ever made in China,” says Eric Jackson, a longtime Yahoo shareholder and founder of hedge fund Ironfire Capital. “Jerry deserves enormous credit for that.” Jackson has often been critical of Yahoo’s management and board.

????Yahoo is often scorned for missing blockbuster opportunities over the years. There were flirtations with Google . There was the company’s inability to win in search marketing, a business that Overture, which Yahoo acquired, had invented. There was Yahoo’s failure to acquire Facebook for $1 billion. Alibaba stands as the one prized deal that didn’t get away.

????How much is that investment worth? Today Yahoo retains a 22% stake in Alibaba . Based on its expected market value of $160 billion at its upcoming initial public offering, that stake is worth more than $35 billion and accounts for most of Yahoo’s total value ($42 billion) today. This comes after Yahoo’s sale of a portion of its Alibaba shares two years ago, which netted the company $7.6 billion. Without that deal, which Yahoo was pressured into doing by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, Yahoo’s investment in Alibaba would be worth nearly $64 billion. By then, however, Yang had left the company and its board.

????One way to look at Yahoo’s investment in Alibaba is that it more than made up for all of the mistakes that Yahoo may have made under Yang. As Alibaba prepares to go public on Friday, we can only say on behalf of Yahoo shareholders: “Thank you, Jerry.”

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