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More painful cuts come, as expected; Yahoo blames bad economy for its misfortune

DailyTech reported earlier this month that Yahoo was contemplating job cuts.  Faced with sagging growth and market share loss to Google, coupled with the possible loss of the Google ad partnership due to regulatory headaches, Yahoo had few other options than to make cuts.

Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang, under pressure by some investors of late to resign, gave a statement describing the cuts, stating, "We have been disciplined about balancing investments with cost management all year, and have now set in motion initiatives to reduce costs and enhance productivity.  The steps we are taking this quarter should deliver both near-term benefits to operating cash flow, and substantially enhance the nimbleness and flexibility with which we compete over the long term."

At least 10 percent of Yahoo's workforce will be slashed, meaning that at least 1,520 will lose their jobs.  The company hopes that the cuts will help it to reduce costs, while not significantly reducing its profitability. 

The cuts were the second for Yahoo this year, with the company letting 1,000 employees go this last January.  In total, Yahoo has let go close to 16 percent of its workforce since the start of the year.

Yahoo will also be relocating offices and consolidating real estate to try to reduce costs.  Mr. Yang stated in a conference call, "We are identifying ways we can operate more efficiently."

Yahoo's revenue for the quarter was $1.79B USD, up 1 percent from the quarter a year before.  Without the commissions it paid ad partners, the company pulled in $1.33B USD, slightly lower than the average analyst prediction of $1.37B USD.  Net income for Yahoo was $54M USD, down 51 percent from last year.  Profits excluding one-time charges were $123M USD, roughly in line with analyst expectations.

While the report contained some disappointing spots, it mostly was in line with analyst predictions, so some analysts hailed it as good news for the troubled search firm.  Sandeep Aggarwal, Senior Internet Analyst at Collins Stewart described the report as having "no more negative surprise beyond what we had already expected."  And Jeffrey Lindsay, senior analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co said that the report "could have been a lot worse."

Mr. Lindsay praised the job cuts, stating, "If they really do take the staff numbers down for real, that will have a very beneficial effect."

Yahoo's management is blaming a weak economy for their company's struggles.  Yahoo Finance Chief Blake Jorgensen described in a statement, "An increasingly challenging economic climate and softening advertising demand contributed to revenues this quarter coming in at the low end of our outlook range.  While we are disappointed with our results, we're pleased that we continue to benefit from the aggressive cost management efforts we have pursued during the year."

Yahoo stock recently perked up after falling to the $11/share range, after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer commented that Microsoft might still be interested in Yahoo or parts of Yahoo.  Microsoft had offered Yahoo $32/share, almost three times the current stock price, but Yahoo had rejected the offer, stating it was worth significantly more.



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RE: Only in America
By TomZ on 10/22/2008 9:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Give me concrete, specific examples of why Yahoo's management is not up to snuff.

From a shareholder perspective, there is the complete failure to deliver shareholder value - appreciating stock prices, dividends, etc. You apologists often forget the purpose of publicly-held corporations - to make money for their shareholders. When their managers fail at this task, they should be held accountable. Yang's days are clearly numbered.


RE: Only in America
By Emryse on 10/23/2008 6:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
My argument was not on that point.

My argument is that most people are not aware of the very specific decisions that either gave or denied shareholders of value. (Nor are most people aware of the surrounding circumstances, inside competitive edge information, internal and external factors influencing the board, etc., etc., - most people just see the results and assume "it's the board's fault", which may or may not be true.)

Does this board need to be held accountable? Absolutely?

Should we just fire members of the board and take the money we were spending on salary and other perks, and reinvest elsewhere in the org? Absolutely not.

To the contrary, you hire a much better board member and hope you can afford his or her compensation requirements.


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