[SAN FRANCISCO] Flush with cash from its investment in Alibaba, Yahoo is angling to buy into hot mobile messaging startup Snapchat, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday Yahoo has been in talks to take part in a funding round that would value Snapchat at US$10 billion, but how much it plans to invest remained cloudy, according to the Journal.
A Yahoo spokesman declined to comment on the report.
In a shrewd move led by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang in 2005, the California Internet firm paid a billion dollars for a 40 per cent stake in Alibaba that has paid back the investment many times over.
Unconfirmed reports surfaced earlier this year indicating that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba had been considering investing in Snapchat.
Snapchat rocketed to popularity, especially among teens, after the initial app was released in September of 2011. Created by then Stanford University students, the app allows the sending of text and photo messages that disappear seconds after being viewed.
The company had last year rejected a buyout offer from social network giant Facebook, judging the US$3 billion offer too low, US media reports have said.
Snapchat has also been courted by other investors and would-be buyers, including a group led by Chinese Internet giant Tencent.
Talk of Yahoo being interested in Snapchat came the same day as news website TechCrunch reported that the Internet pioneer bought the startup behind mobile messaging application MessageMe for a price in the "double-digit millions." The take-over was described as a talent acquisition.
Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer has been on a lengthy buying spree backed by money pumped into the company's coffers by Alibaba.
Ms Mayer has been striving to re-invent the company as an online venue for premium, personalized content after its Internet search service crown was taken by Google.
Activist investment firm Starboard Value meanwhile urged Yahoo last week to explore a tie-up with online rival AOL, saying such a deal could help the struggling Internet pioneer "unlock" value for shareholders. - AFP