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Yahoo denies it is in talks to sell Korean unit

Written by: Staff
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SAN FRANCISCO, Apr 7 (Reuters) Internet media company Yahoo Inc. on Thursday denied a newspaper report that it is in talks to sell its wholly-owned South Korean arm to a unit of SK Telecom Co. Ltd..

''Yahoo Inc. is continuously seeking to expand and deepen our global footprint in countries such as Korea. As such, we are currently not involved in any discussions to sell Yahoo Korea,'' Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako told Reuters.

The potential sale of Yahoo Korea Corp. to unlisted SK Communications Co. would be valued at more than 100 billion won (4.5 million), the Hankook Ilbo daily reported in Friday's newspaper, citing an unnamed source familiar with the situation.

The report comes as Yahoo is honing its Asia strategy. In Japan, Yahoo teamed up with SoftBank to create Yahoo Japan. In China, Yahoo struggled with the local version of Yahoo, then later sold it to Chinese on-line auctioneer Alibaba and took a minor stake in Alibaba.

Others are also seeking growth in Asia, particularly China, including Web search leader Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

''Talks are under way (for SK Communications) to buy a 100 percent stake in Yahoo Korea,'' the source was quoted in the newspaper report as saying. ''Some of the stake will be exchanged into shares in SK Communications held by SK Telecom.'' SK Communications, a former unit of U.S. Internet company Lycos Inc., was taken over by South Korea's leading mobile operator SK Telecom in 2002. It runs Web portal sites and a popular online community site www.cyworld.com.

Shares of Yahoo closed up 68 cents, or 2 percent, at .79 on Nasdaq.

REUTERS CS ND1210

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