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Marissa Mayer: Yahoo Spinoff of Alibaba Stake May Take Until January

"Believe it or not, we can see the finish line," said CFO Ken Goldman.

In Yahoo’s third-quarter earnings call with analysts today, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that the spinoff of its 15 percent stake in China’s Alibaba Group might take until January.

The Silicon Valley Internet giant had previously told Wall Street that the transaction would take place by the end of the year.

Earlier in a press release, Mayer addressed the issue: “In addition to sharpening focus within core business growth, our top priority is the planned spinoff of Aabaco Holdings. This is an important moment for the Company, and we continue to strive to complete the spin as quickly as we can.”

Aabaco is the name of the spinoff company.

A big worry of investors is that Yahoo has not gotten regulatory approval for a tax-free transaction, which has weighed heavily on the stock, down more than 35 percent since the beginning of the year. Shares were up 25 percent in 2014, largely due to the surge in Alibaba’s value.

CFO Ken Goldman said there still was the possibility of a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that would make the spinoff tax free.

Mayer said the delay could happen, in part, due to the upcoming holiday season. Perhaps due, too, to this week’s departure of development chief Jackie Reses, who was the key exec handling the deal, to a new job at Square. Many thought she would stay through the end of the transaction.

Still, sources said it was moving forward without her there, largely now in the hands of lawyers and accountants.

“Believe it or not, we can see the finish line,” said Goldman.

Yahoo reported weak earnings today, not meeting Wall Street expectations of net income and revenue.

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