Stock Stronger as Yahoo Preps to Report Next Week–But Employee Departures (and Return of Yodeling!) Rattle
In one week, Yahoo will report its third-quarter earnings, after the market closes.
And so far, its stock is showing signs that investors are hoping for better days ahead for the Internet giant.
Shares are up 8.5 percent for the month, almost 13 percent for the last three months and almost 39 percent since the beginning of the year.
While that’s not the rocket ship Google (GOOG) has been on–the search giant’s stock is up 70 percent since January, which includes a big boost recently on expectations of a strong earnings report tomorrow–it’s clear investors are hoping an improvement in the online advertising market will boost Yahoo’s fortunes.
Wall Street is expecting $1.12 billion in net revenue and seven cents in earnings per share from Yahoo (YHOO)–and a better performance than that could boost the stock.
In fact, a pair of bullish analyst reports that came out today predicted just that.
Broadpoint AmTech analyst Benjamin Schachter raised his price target to $21 a share, noting that after the search and online advertising partnership deal closes, Yahoo “should be meaningfully smaller and leaner, but should also be a significantly more profitable company.”
And Benchmark Co. analyst Clayton Moran moved Yahoo from hold to buy, with a price target of $20.
But a string of recent exec departures in Yahoo’s advertising units are making some within the company’s ranks slightly worried.
The departures include Jim Schinella, the company’s SVP for corporate partnerships, in September.
And yesterday, Glam Media announced that it had nabbed Josh Jacobs as SVP of Brand Advertising Products & Marketing. At Yahoo, Jacobs was a key exec in its display ad platform unit.
Many inside the company expect more departures in the ad and engineering arena at Yahoo, pointing out that many big stock packages given to hold onto talent are about to vest.
In addition, once Yahoo’s search and online advertising partnership with Microsoft (MSFT) is approved, as it is likely to be by the end of the year, hundreds of Yahoo engineers will get the choice of moving to Microsoft.
Some will, of course, but some simply do not want to go and many Silicon Valley companies and start-ups BoomTown spoke to report seeing more resumes recently from Yahoo staff.
There is little Microsoft can do to stop possible leakage of tech talent from Yahoo until the deal is approved, since the companies cannot do any integration until it is.
Perhaps worst of all, there seems to be nothing Yahoo can do to stifle its proclivity to yodel, which I begged Yahoo execs to forgo in its recent $100 million “It’s Y!ou” marketing push.
No such luck!
Yesterday, Yahoo launched its online Yodel Studio (no, I am not kidding), where you can record your own yodel in various music genres, like, um, rap.
Yahoo held a kickoff event in New York’s Time Square yesterday–however did I manage to miss it, since I was in Manhattan?–with a passel of celebrity yodelers like Jewel, as well as one in London’s Covent Garden.
Today, there is a yodel event in Mumbai, India. Bollywood yodeling anyone?
Here is a link to the famous Yahoo yodel, by the way, if you are so inclined.
And here is a video of the Times Square event, and also the very memorable Yahoo commercial of Taylor Ware, after she won the Yahoo National Yodel Challenge contest in 2003.
Some things never change (even if they should!).