Like great civilizations, great companies are not conquered from without until they have destroyed themselves from within. And Yahoo (YHOO) appears to be well on its way to doing just that.
Shares in the company slid still deeper into the mud today as the market reflected on the uneventful conclusion of the company’s merger talks with Microsoft (MSFT) and its decision to–well, let’s face it–become a reseller of Google (GOOG) ads. In early trading, Yahoo’s stock, which plummeted 10% in late trading yesterday, fell another 6% to around $22. And it’s likely to fall further still, with financial analysts taking swings at it like kids at a piñata.
“This deal diminishes Yahoo’s relevance among advertisers and strengthens the hand of a key competitor,” analyst Mark May of Needham & Company told clients in a research note today.
And over at Cantor Fitzgerald, analyst Derek Brown agreed. “We remain concerned about the long-term implications of this deal for Yahoo,” he said. “While the company should reap a near-term financial windfall with Google by its side, it seems to be sacrificing its vision of becoming a ‘must buy’ for online advertisers. After all, doesn’t this deal make Google, not Yahoo!, the ‘must buy’ for online advertisers?”
Jeffrey Lindsay of Bernstein Research says the deal is a litigation nightmare waiting to happen. “We think at a minimum that the current deal will result in further lawsuits, which Yahoo will ultimately have to settle, further impacting the economics of the deal,” he said.
And analyst Laura Martin of Soleil Securities Group says it’s just a nightmare, plain and simple. “Execution issues become more challenging as talent continues to stream out the door,” Martin said in a research note. “With the collapse of the Microsoft deal, Yahoo employees lost (in addition to shareholders), and we expect Yahoo’s employee turnover to accelerate as its share price falls and their stock options are way underwater. Shareholder litigation may distract the board and senior management and will cost Yahoo shareholders more money.”
And Shar VanBoskirk, an analyst with Forrester Research (FORR), well, she reacted as I imagine many observers did–with a slow shake of the head. “It’s a great deal for Google,” she told BusinessWeek . “I have no idea what Yahoo’s thinking.”
If it was thinking at all … Said Mark May, an analyst at Needham & Co., “This just reaffirms the view that Yahoo, and particularly Jerry Yang and David Filo, blew it. It’s hard to see how this management team is going to be able to extract or create value anywhere near 33 bucks a share anytime soon.”