Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Hall Pass: Yahoo Meets Lackluster Expectations in Third Quarter, As Investors Focus on Mayer’s Plans for What’s Next

Yahoo is nothing if not consistent, turning in yet another weak quarter that met weak expectations from investors.

The 98-pound weakling is still weak!

In the third quarter, the Silicon Valley Internet giant had $1.089 billion in revenue, a hair above expectations and just two percent higher than a year ago. (Please note that competitors, such as Google and even Facebook, are growing revenue like gangbusters.)

Profits were also weak, despite an apparent pop from a gain from its sale of some of the shares it holds in China’s Alibaba Group. But let’s focus on operations, people, which are the real numbers to gauge. As Yahoo noted: “On a GAAP basis, income from operations decreased 14 percent to $152 million in the third quarter of 2012, compared to $177 million in the third quarter of 2011.”

Minus traffic acquisition costs, display revenue was down to $451.6 million, compared to consensus estimates of $484 million; search revenue was up only a tiny bit to $414.1 million (consensus was $411 million).

Interestingly, Yahoo left out detailed information it has usually provides about engagement and other user metrics. Let me take a big guess: The numbers are simply not impressive, or else they would have been touted.

Also left out was any guidance going forward — new CFO Ken Goldman just came on today, so that’s no surprise. Guess it’s time to throw out the trash, as they say in politics!

But here’s an interesting factoid in the press release: “In October 2012, Yahoo! entered into a 364-day, $750 million unsecured revolving credit facility. The facility is currently undrawn and is expected to be used for general corporate purposes.”

More available cash to go with the pile of cash that Yahoo has already piled up for purposes unclear right now.

To be clear, this meh quarter does not matter at all — with Yahoo getting a financial equivalent of a hall pass for these results — as investors look to hear from new CEO Marissa Mayer about her plans to make all the bad go away. Until she charts a course and sets out on it, it is likely that no one is going to blame her for Yahoo’s past woes.

As Mayer said in a statement today: “Yahoo! had a solid third quarter, and we are encouraged by the stabilization in search and display revenue. We’re taking important steps to position Yahoo! for long-term success, and we’re confident that our focus on quality and improving the user experience will drive increased value for our advertisers, partners and shareholders.”

Everyone is looking forward to hearing how, which the former Google exec will presumably explain in more detail on a conference call with Wall Street analysts — her first as a public company CEO — at 2 pm PT. Tune in for my live blog.

Until then, here are Yahoo’s Q3 slides to peruse:

YHOO_Q312EarningsPresentation_FINAL


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald