Yahoo! may float European businesses

Founder Yang says stock market offering could bolster plans to remain independent in face of AOL-Time Warner merger

Internet portal Yahoo! may float its European subsidiary as it pursues an independent strategy, founder Jerry Yang told Germany's Welt am Sonntag Sunday.

After AOL's record deal to merge with Time Warner last week, speculation has been rife that Yahoo! -- second-ranked in popularity after AOL's properties -- will be forced to join another large company. Rivals such as Excite and Infoseek have already been acquired by media giants.

But Yahoo! has insisted it will remain independent. "If it's necessary to bring a European subsidiary onto the stock market, we'll do it," Yang told the paper. "Yahoo currently has agreements with hundreds of media companies. In view of the pending merger of AOL/Time Warner we see no need to diminish our position through the concentration on a strong player," he said.

Yang said he sees the greatest growth opportunities for Yahoo! and other Net startups in the e-commerce, services and business-to-business markets.

He told the paper the European Internet market is promising, projected to grow more rapidly than in the US.

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