Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

As CEO Bartz Fiddles With Turnaround, Yahoo’s Stock Value Burns

Yahoo — which turned in yet another disappointing second quarter on Tuesday, but with all new excuses for the continuing decline in revenue — is now getting toasted by Wall Street.

That would be the marshmallow — and not the champagne — kind.

The stock of the Internet giant dropped below $14 a share, to close at $13.48 yesterday, after the company said its display advertising business in the U.S. was hard hit.

Today, it’s already down even further.

That’s close to an eight percent haircut for the past two days and a decline of 20 percent for the past three months.

In that same three months, Google is up over 13 percent, Microsoft is up over five percent, Amazon is up over 17 percent and Apple is up 13 percent.

You get the general idea here.

The decline means Yahoo’s market value is now only $17.5 billion, and more than two-thirds of that value is accounted for by its Asian assets (more than $9 billion) and cash ($3.3 billion).

That means its other properties are worth just above $5 billion now.

And while CEO Carol Bartz tried again — in a conference call with analysts after the earnings were released — to portray the situation as another part of her never-ending turnaround of the company, the issues at Yahoo are not new.

They range from display weakness to search declines to a talent drain to ineffective marketing to the lack of a consistent and fast-developing pipeline of innovative products to its flaccid board.

The earnings mess — no surprise, given estimates going forward were also missed — was seized on by investors and the press. (See, it’s not only me!)

In a column earlier this week in Forbes, titled “Carol Bartz’s 8 Blind Spots That Sunk Yahoo,” longtime and noisy Yahoo critic Eric Jackson noted:

“[T]he Bartz hiring is a cautionary tale to all boards and investors: An over-confident ex-CEO with no industry experience can make a bad company worse before things get better.”

But perhaps more damaging was a post today in The Wall Street Journal’s Heard It on the Street column by Martin Peers, titled: “Yahoo’s Unsurprising Surprise.”

It began with the cutting line: “Talk about having a credibility gap on display.”

Then it got worse:

“Admittedly, it may be that Yahoo has dropped off the radar screens of so many investors that this latest episode can’t do further damage. Certainly, aside from cutting costs, Ms. Bartz’s turnaround plan for Yahoo remains stillborn.”

That might be too kind if the stock continues to decline, a development that — in turn — might once again begin the speculation of Yahoo as a takeover target.

Which, if that could manage to get Yahoo shares back up, might be a reason to break out the bubbly.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment, which — given stock prices are what they are — is probably a good idea.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google