Tough times behind Yahoo? Not so fast

Key investors are upset that company management is installing its own hand-picked individuals on the board.

By Trefis Feb 20, 2012 10:18AM
Just when we thought that CEO Scott Thompson was getting ready to reinvent Yahoo (YHOO), the two long-standing issues of selling the company's Asian assets and disgruntled shareholders return to plague the company. 

There seems to be a tug-of-war going on among key investors as the Yahoo management is installing its recommended individuals on the company's board. And, at the same time, Yahoo's talks to sell its Asian assets -- Alibaba and Yahoo Japan -- have also reportedly hit a roadblock. 

These two unfortunate developments will no doubt be a further distraction for management as it tries to turn around Yahoo's display advertising business in the face of intense competition from Google (GOOG) and Facebook. However, their combined impact could actually provide some relief for the company. Here's why:

Yahoo Stock Break-Up

A recent Reuters report provides the following reason for the Asian asset sale being put on hold:

"Two people briefed on the situation described the deal as effectively dead in the water -- noting the unreasonable terms sought by Yahoo during talks in Hong Kong and a disconnect between Yahoo's negotiating team and its strategic stakeholders."


The negotiating team mentioned above includes Roy Bostock, who has now decided to step down from Yahoo. Incidentally, a swift exit of incumbent board members is exactly what disgruntled investors like Daniel Loeb have been pushing for.


As cited in the SEC filing by Third Point LLC, Loeb is aggressively pushing for new team members on the board who have relevant experience in technology and media, instead of hand-picked members selected by the previous board. If this happens, a complete revamp in Yahoo's leadership as well as the negotiating team could be imminent. This could bring in the necessary sense of urgency to expedite the sale of Yahoo's Alibaba and Yahoo Japan stakes.


We have a revised price estimate of $17 for Yahoo's stock, which is roughly 12% above the current market price.

Tags: GOOGYHOO
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