Alibaba Group said on Thursday it has reorganized Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce website, into three separate companies, squashing any chance of a Taobao public offering.
The move to split Taobao comes as Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma grapples with its major shareholders, Yahoo Inc and Japan’s Softbank, over ownership of Alipay, another of the group’s crown jewels. Taobao had 70 percent of all online sales transacted in China in the first quarter of the year and has been valued by Goldman Sachs at about $7 billion. The firm will be split effective from Thursday into three companies, namely its product search engine eTao, business-to-consumer website Taobao Mall and consumer-to-consumer website Taobao.com.
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