(FILES)The Yahoo homepage is seen on a computer screen in Washington, DC in this October 19, 2010 file photo. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Yahoo shares spiked in late trading after reports from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal indicated that the company may be considering a sale of its Asian assets to Alibaba.

The Times, citing people “briefed on the matter,” reported that Yahoo’s board is considering selling its holdings in the Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan for $17 billion to Alibaba and Softbank — Yahoo Japan’s majority owner. The Journal report backs up that figure.

According to the reports, Yahoo would swap some of its holdings in Alibaba and all of its holdings in Yahoo Japan for stake in two new legal entities comprising cash and “certain operating assets.” Yahoo would reportedly keep a 15 percent stake in Alibaba.

The company has been facing questions about its future for months, particularly after firing its outspoken chief executive, Carol Bartz, in September. Many of its most outspoken investors have pointed to the possibility of splitting off the company’s assets in Asia to help Yahoo emerge as a slimmer company.

Yahoo shares closed nearly 6 percent up on the news of a possible deal.

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