Yahoo hires team to show Alibaba spinoff is a real business

Looking to show it’s a real business and not just a place to hold Alibaba stock, the e-commerce division that Yahoo is spinning off later this year just hired a new management team.

Luminate, formerly known as Yahoo Small Business, is being spun off from Yahoo into the newly formed Aabaco, which will be the repository for Yahoo’s 15 percent stake in Alibaba — worth more than $20 billion. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer earlier this year called the division, which helps small businesses sell wares online, a “legacy, ancillary business” when she announced it would be used as an instrument for the tax-free spinoff of Yahoo’s 384 million Alibaba shares.

But now Yahoo is sending a different message about the importance of the e-commerce venture after the Internal Revenue Service expressed concerns in recent weeks about such transactions.

And so Luminate just hired a new executive team: Yahoo veteran and former military bomb expert Chris Wayne becomes Luminate’s head of IT and infrastructure; another Yahoo veteran, Matt Cokely, will be head of customer care; and Brandon Cruse, formerly of Intuit, will run HR. The hires were announced Thursday by Amer Akhtar, who already heads the small business division.

The new business will also have a new office, but it hasn’t been revealed where. Most of what will become the Luminate team is currently based at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale headquarters, although Cokely works out of Yahoo’s office in Hillsboro, Oregon.

In other Yahoo news Thursday:

The Sunnyvale company is trying to get more people using its mobile search engine while also contributing to social causes throughout the month of October by funding projects through the youth-oriented Yahoo will donate 10 cents, up to $1 million, for each cookie-enabled Yahoo search on a mobile device through

Above: Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)


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