HONG KONG: Chinese web portal Alibaba is seeking investor funds to buy out its biggest shareholder Yahoo, if the latter is eventually ingested by Microsoft.

Yahoo holds 39% of the shares – acquired when it merged its Yahoo China portal with Alibaba in 2005. Japan's Softbank owns around 28%, while the management team led by founder Jack Ma has 33%.

The buy-out to preserve Alibaba's independence will only be triggered if Microsoft is successful in its $42 billion ((€26.6bn; £20.78bn) bid for Yahoo.

A shareholder agreement gives a first right of refusal to the other investors should one of them try to sell its stake.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff