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Things get messy at Yahoo as reports of sales and a reorg swirl

Sharon Gaudin | Dec. 3, 2015
Board meets to consider selling Internet business, letting Mayer go.

Mayer did shake some things up.

On the positive side, Mayer was behind more than a dozen acquisitions, including the purchase of Tumblr and Summly. She also pushed the company to focus on mobile devices but then failed to find a significant way to monetize it.

​Over the last few years, Yahoo also has launched new products, including new mobile mail video apps, but none of them were blockbusters. While Mayer has picked up a talent from around Silicon Valley, she's also had top executives jump ship.

Mayer also caused a stir when she called in the company's telecommuters, saying the company needed employees to work more creatively and efficiently and they could do that better in the office than at home.

Most significantly, Yahoo still hasn't stabilized its finances. The company's net revenue has dropped from $5.4 billion in 2008 to an expected maximum of $4 billion this year.

With the great hype and excitement around Mayer's hiring and then without the anticipated grand turnaround, investors and board members could be getting antsy. And that means they want change.

How significant that change will be is what people are waiting to see now.

"Yahoo is kind of a mess," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "The proposed plan is to effectively sell off a lot of things and build a new and different company from scratch. It is an interesting idea because it literally would make them into a universal startup. I have my doubts Mayer will survive, regardless."

Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, said Yahoo hasn't seen the epic turnaround but he doesn't necessarily blame Mayer.

"This was a gargantuan task, especially in the shadow of what Google had done in transforming the industry," he said. "I believe Yahoo is right where it was before Mayer came aboard. If they can't fix it, break it up and sell the parts.

"Unfortunately, I think Yahoo has already bit the dust but no one has told them yet," Kagan added. "What the future holds for Yahoo has been the question for the last decade and it's still the question."

 

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