Is Yahoo's Business in Trouble?

The quarterly earnings are out, and the market's not happy

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On Tuesday, Yahoo annouced its much-anticipated third-quarter earnings. Wall Street has been paying close attention to the Internet giant following rumors that AOL may look to buy Yahoo. How's the company's health these days?

  •  This Quarter Was Rough for Yahoo, writes Kara Swisher at All Things Digital:
The revenue weakness is worrisome, as it indicates a lack of search advertising growth at Yahoo, even as competitors such as Facebook expand rapidly as social networking explodes. In addition, Google also turned in stellar quarterly results earlier this week, along with Apple. Even more important is a weaker outlook for the fourth quarter. In addition, the key metric of page views was down four percent in the quarter, while employee growth was up seven percent."

Mr Morse said total pages viewed on Yahoo fell 4 per cent in the most recent quarter from a year earlier, but total minutes spent increased 3 per cent from the second quarter and the number of unique visitors rose.

Yahoo’s latest ho-hum performance again raises questions about whether Yahoo’s new CEO Carol Bartz (pictured left) can make good on her promise to turn the company around since coming on board in 2009. Bartz has come under criticism for mishandling relationships with important partners in Asia and allowing high turnover in Yahoo’s executive ranks. Then there are the rumors that AOL and a number of private firms are planning to pick up the search provider and take it private.

It isn’t immediately clear where Yahoo goes from here, but one thing is obvious: investors didn’t appreciate Yahoo’s performance. The results ignited a minor sell-off and brought Yahoo’s shares down about 2.9 percent to $15.47 in extended trading today.

  • Good Moves on Cost-Cutting, writes Kara Swisher in a separate post: "Slightly above investor expectations with operating margins improving nicely to 12 percent from six percent a year ago. CEO Carol Bartz sure can cut costs."
  • Yahoo Is Buying Up Its Own Stock, writes Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch: "Bartz also revealed that so far this year, Yahoo has bought back 7 percent of its own shares. As investors flee the stock, Yahoo may have to continue to repurchase shares to keep the stock afloat, unless some of these initiatives begin to drive overall revenue growth. Bartz kept repeating the mantra “local, mobile, social, and video,” suggesting that she hopes that is where Yahoo’s advertising growth will come from in the future."
  • Surprisingly, Carol Bartz Didn't Swear! observes Erick Schonfeld (Bartz is famous for her potty mouth):

Asked to comment on the private equity buyout rumors, Bartz was surprisingly tight-lipped: “As tempting as it is to tell you what I really think, I cannot comment on rumors about hypothetical this or hypothetical that. We like our strategy, we like our progress, that is what I am focused on.” Also, she managed to make it throughout the entire conference call without swearing.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.