Yahoo: The Parts of Its Sum?
BoomTown is usually never in sync with Wall Street analysts, given that their job is too often to sell people on companies and mine is to, well, tell on companies to people.
But I seem to be in violent agreement with Sanford Bernstein analyst Jeff Lindsay of late–at least with a recent report he just did calling for Yahoo to abandon its slower-moving strategies and get much, much bolder much, much quicker.
Suggestions by Lindsay included outsourcing its search business, making deep cuts in staff and also doubling down on its bets in its ad network businesses like Right Media.
(Frankly, I’d just like to see the company immediately-if-not-sooner roll out innovative email features like CEO and Co-Founder Jerry Yang showed at the Consumer Electronics Show last week.)
If you recall, Lindsay penned a previous report last October on the worth of Yahoo by parsing out its various assets. It was instructive in its focus on the value of Yahoo’s somewhat liquid holdings like investments compared to its core business.
The message at the time: Yahoo had some valuable assets–such as its stake in China’s Alibaba.com–and its stock did not reflect these gems. It even suggested the company be split into parts to unlock value.
But his most recent piece is less sanguine–a kind of flip side to the first, noting that the operations side of the business was not up to snuff, causing the valuation of Yahoo to fall. Bernstein blames Yahoo’s too-careful management, as well as its declining share of the search market.
Whatever you think about Yahoo, its still lackluster stock price–it hovers in the low $20-range–make reports like Lindsay’s interesting reading. See also this Motley Fool report yesterday, naming Yahoo the “Worst Stock for 2008.”
Nonetheless, all this bearishness could foretell some bullishness on Yahoo, which appears to simply refuse to move faster than it wants to.
Consider a largely positive piece on Yahoo’s fine-tuning of its business in the New York Times yesterday, which chronicled Yang’s turtle-versus-hare approach to the company’s future.
The article quoted Yang’s I’m-still-here intro to the CES speech (pictured here in this AP shot by Paul Sakuma), which kind of says all you need to know: “I’m guessing that a lot of you are here today to see what the new look and new face of Yahoo is all about…well, I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s still the same old face. I’ve been around since the beginning.”
And, I have no doubt, until the bitter, sweet or even bittersweet end.