How strong is Yahoo?

A friend of mine, much smarter than I, mentioned that Yahoo would go under.

I read Wiki’s page and it seems pretty strong and healthy.

What’s the skinny on Yahoo? Any thoughts?

My only thought is that I have used Yahoo! almost exclusively (I check Google when Yahoo!'s search doesn’t get me what I want) since I first got on the internet back in the mid 90s. I’ve looked at the competition and have even used some of them. But Yahoo! serves my needs fine.

I just hope I’m not alone in my appreciation of the portal and that Yahoo! is still around as long as I am! :slight_smile:

The biggest chunk of Yahoo!'s net worth is a big pile of shares in Alibaba, which they bought years ago for hardly anything. It’s worth many billions today.

Alibaba is basically the only thing propping up Yahoo at this point. They’ve gone through a number of unprofitable acqui-hire portfolio acquisitions, questionable share buybacks (to artificially inflate the stock price - which didn’t work) and have had otherwise disastrous operating expenses over the past 15 years (some of this has been cleaned up, including some small divestitures and layoffs, but not enough.)

Mayer’s plan to spinoff Yahoo’s Alibaba stake was met with a massive shareholder revolt, and now will probably not happen.

Companies in far worse condition have had successful turnarounds - look at Apple in 1999, for example. But I don’t think Mayer is the right person to fix Yahoo, if it’s even possible.

From today’s Daily Telegraph

Don’t blame Marissa Mayer:

A quick and dirty summary of what’s happened recently.

Yahoo! made a lot of money investing early in Alibaba. The regular Yahoo! as we know it business is doing poorly to awful for the most part.

Most of their other acquisitions are questionable at best.

Take Tumblr. This unit is actually making a reasonable amount of cash. But growth has slowed, it hasn’t “fed into” Yahoo! enough ads and such to impact the parent company. Plus they spent $1.1B for a youngish startup.

And that’s a rare “good” acquisition.

Anyway, Yahoo! figured that now was the time to sell their share of Alibaba and use the dough to “turn around” their core businesses. Problem: That’s a lot of profit and the IRS let them know they could be taxed quite a bit on it. No one, shareholders included, thought the original plan was financially worth it.

Plan B: Just split the company up. Shareholders get shares in the new Yahoo! (which owns the Alibaba stock) and the old Yahoo! (which is the traditional Yahoo! stuff). No taxes here, until someone sells their shares of the first company.

But note: Old Yahoo! doesn’t get a cash infusion to try and fix things. It has a problem.

Plan C: Split but sell the old Yahoo! to some [del]sucker[/del] fine company. Just forget it and move on. Make it someone else’s problem.

Note that the current management has not acted all that much worse than previous management teams. The big mistake was letting Google take over the search engine business. Too late to do anything about it now.

Yahoo was desperate enough to try a forced-ads approach to their email, but either they’ve realized that was a bad idea (as it just encourages people to move their competitors) or the adblock lists have overcome the problem.

(Forbes is also trying it. I don’t suspect it will work well for them, either, but they do have a better shot.)