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Clock ticking for Yahoo appeal of $2.7 billion Mexican ruling

The headquarters of Yahoo Inc. is pictured in Sunnyvale, California, May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The headquarters of Yahoo Inc. is pictured in Sunnyvale, California, May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

By Alexandra Alper

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc has until mid-January to appeal a Mexican civil court's $2.7 billion judgment against it, an official at the court told Reuters on Wednesday.

The ruling, which perplexed the tech world, was issued on Friday. It involves allegations of breach of contract related to an online yellow pages listings service, according to Yahoo.

The company said on Friday that the claims against it were without merit and that it would pursue all appeals.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, three court officials on Wednesday said Yahoo had 15 working days from the ruling's issuance to appeal. Because of the court's winter vacation, the U.S. Internet giant should have until about January 11 to seek legal remedy, one of the officials said.

The lawsuit was brought by Worldwide Directories S.A. de C.V. and Ideas Interactivas S.A. de C.V. against Yahoo and Yahoo de Mexico, according to Yahoo.

Carlos Bazan-Canabal, who describes himself as a founder of Worldwide Directories, told Reuters via email earlier this week that he had contracted a U.S.-based law firm to handle the Yahoo case.

Yahoo believes it has "numerous" grounds to appeal the court's preliminary judgment against the company, including both errors in procedure and in application of law, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Late on Tuesday, one official said the Internet giant had not yet filed an appeal of the ruling, issued by the 49th Civil Court of the Federal District of Mexico City.

The "non-final" judgment and the hefty sum it imposes surprised many investors and tech-industry observers.

A JPMorgan analyst said the judgment, if sustained, would cost the company an estimated 40 percent of its 2012 cash balance, as projected by the bank.

Documents from local courts in Mexico are not available for public consultation.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; editing by John Wallace)

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