Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Yahoo Board Plotting Carol Bartz' Exit

Stories were rampant in the last two weeks that Yahoo's board is interviewing replacements for CEO Carol Bartz.

Nearby is the price chart for Yahoo and the S&P500 Index, including January, 2009, when Bartz became the firm's latest leader.

By one view, Bartz at least stopped the downward spiral of the firm's shareholder's fortunes. During her tenure as CEO thus far, the firm's share price is up modestly, while the S&P has risen roughly 30%.

Personally, I think Yahoo's sluggish performance is less about Bartz and more about the wreck she inherited. A wreck with nearly nothing left on which to build the fabled "turnaround."

As I've contended in many posts, after Jerry Yang screwed up the exit strategy of selling the firm to Microsoft, there was little left to do. For shareholders, just selling and walking away was the best option.

I suspect it probably still is. At this point, Yahoo is most likely a risk arb's play, if it's anything.

Even the latest bad break involving Alibaba had Yang's fingerprint's on it.

Whether Bartz ought to be replaced or not is probably moot. Yahoo's fortunes are unlikely to improve under any other CEO. At this point, though, there may not be any buyers for the firm at prices that the board and shareholders will tolerate, so badly has the firm been mismanaged since when Terry Semel ran it.

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