Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is "interested" in buying Yahoo Inc if the opportunity presents itself and has held discussions with other potential buyers about options.
Asked whether Alibaba might buy the ailing US-based Internet company, Ma told an audience at Stanford University in California that he would be "very interested in Yahoo."
He later added that, were he to have his way, he would be eager to acquire all of Yahoo, not just the stake it owns in Alibaba.
"The whole piece of Yahoo," Ma said in answer to a question from the audience about what part of Yahoo he was interested in. "China is already ours, right? It's already in my pocket."
Acquiring Yahoo could help Ma expand his online empire into one of the world's most important Internet markets.
Ma also said he planned to spend the next year in the US learning more about the country and the market.
An Alibaba spokeswoman said Ma would be based in the San Francisco Bay area, but would travel across the country and would continue his duties as chairman and CEO of the Alibaba Group.
Ma, who was speaking at the China 2.0 conference at Stanford, said he had not visited Yahoo to discuss a deal.
"We are probably one of the very few companies that really understand Yahoo USA very well," he said, referring to his company's long-running relationship with Yahoo, which dates back to 2005.
That relationship has grown strained in recent years. Ma's attempts to buy back some of Yahoo's roughly 40 percent stake in his company were rebuffed by former Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz, who was fired earlier this month.
Yahoo has received inquiries from multiple parties about "options," but the struggling company is expected to take months to decide its future. It has retained Allen & Co to help it conduct a long-term "strategic review."
Ma said he couldn't predict when a deal to acquire Yahoo might take place. "It's more complicated than we thought. And there's so many people interested," he said.