Friday, April 22, 2011

Yahoo- Just Sell It Already!

In this last post about Yahoo, written in February, I suggested,

"Even the typically-competent Bartz can't seem to do more than get a few dollars for using Bing and doing an ad deal with Microsoft. But Yahoo isn't lighting the world on fire with free content anymore, and missed its chance, long ago, to be a profitable, earlier version of Facebook.

To have seen its stock price fall from over $100 to under $18 in 11 years makes me wonder just who still owns this turkey?

Where to now? With no clear mission for the firm going forward, what would a current investor do? I'd say sell. The risks of further erosion are probably at least as great, if not moreso, than Bartz magically getting a higher value now for selling the firm to someone who would, by some stretch, need whatever it is of value that Yahoo still offers.

There seems to be no solo act for Bartz at Yahoo which will do shareholders any good. Continuing to operate the firm will probably just result in a declining share price. Shutting it down would destroy value. I suppose, at some price above zero, some other tech firm will see some kind of value in the firm's assets, if only its internet traffic.

It's truly been sad watching the firm manage to evade natural exit strategies over the past few years, now to languish behind even the moribund Microsoft, watching upstart Facebook move on without even noticing Yahoo in the same general product/market space."
With its earnings report once again portraying decline, it's clear even Carol Bartz can't change the end of this story. Revenues were down 24%, while profit fell 28%, as Google had another growth quarter.
The Wall Street Journal article on Yahoo's quarterly results contained lots of excuses by Bartz, and various non-financial measures claiming to herald a brighter future.
Look at that chart of Yahoo's price since going public, compared to the S&P500 Index. The company's price is down since 2000, while the S&P was only flat. Even in the past two years, Bartz hasn't been able to lift the firm's fortunes.
I still can't figure out who would continue to hold this. Isn't it time for the CEO and board of Yahoo to stop wasting shareholder capital and sell the firm?

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