Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and CFO Ken Goldman tiptoed around everyone’s main concern about the company — its effort to restructure or sell itself — today in a quarterly earnings call with analysts. The effort has been hampered by “external noise” and “misconceptions,” Mayer says. But she declined to set things straight “in order to protect the integrity of the process.”
Mayer does offer, though, that she, Goldman and the management team have spent the last two months “in person and on the phone with interested participants, including some of the most well known and respected names in the industry. We’ve been responsive and engaging, having personally answered hundreds of questions.”
What’s more “our board and management team are fully committed to maximizing value for shareholders and are completely aligned in pursuit of strategic alternatives…We’re here to serve shareholders, and create value.”
Verizon and private equity companies TPG and YP Holdings are believed to be among the companies that submitted offers for Yahoo at yesterday’s deadline for first-round offers.
Meanwhile, shareholder Starboard Value has offered a slate of directors to compete with the company’s board candidates. But CEO Jeffrey Smith told CNBC today that he might settle for a few seats.
“Little else warrants much focus for the present time other than to know that the business is struggling,” says Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser. “At an operational level, Yahoo’s situation has gone from bad to worse in recent quarters, with poor choices at both Board and senior management levels compounding bad luck. … With virtually no support for either body from the investment community, activist investors are well-positioned to engineer changes directly, or otherwise provoke management (or the Board) to make changes or announce significant initiatives that would help to catalyze the stock higher.”