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Yahoo! Businesses The Internet

Yahoo Discussing Sale of Internet Business (bloomberg.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal (paywalled), Yahoo!'s board of directors is considering the sale of their internet business in a series of meetings starting today. "Growing concerns around Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's lack of progress turning around Yahoo and an exodus of top executives have increased pressure on the company's board to consider her future and alternatives to her turnaround attempt, now in its fourth year. ... Much of the value of Yahoo's $31 billion market capitalization is tied up in two large Asian assets, Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. Its 15% stake in Alibaba is now worth about $32 billion, and its 35% stake in Yahoo Japan is now worth about $8.5 billion. Yahoo's cash and short-term investments totaled $5.9 billion at the end of the third quarter. That would mean investors are valuing Yahoo's core business at less than zero if the Asian assets were spun out tax-free."
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Yahoo Discussing Sale of Internet Business

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  • Yahoo mail (and occasionally AOL mail) users are the only people I talk to who regularly note the capitalization of their email addresses. I find that reason enough for Yahoo to die.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @08:35AM (#51040379)

    That would mean investors are valuing Yahoo's core business at less than zero if the Asian assets were spun out tax-free.

    There is a good chance it actually is worth less than zero. Yahoo hasn't been relevant for a while now. Yahoo used to matter in search but that hasn't been true for a long time and as a result there is no real reason for most people to go to Yahoo anymore. It's hard to concisely explain their business model anymore which is usually a bad sign for a company.

    Yahoo should have sold to Microsoft when they were offered an obscene (and insane) amount of money for the company. The fact that they didn't was even dumber than Microsoft actually offering $53 billion for the company. Microsoft shareholders kind of dodged a bullet when that deal fell through.

    • That would mean investors are valuing Yahoo's core business at less than zero if the Asian assets were spun out tax-free.

      Yahoo should have sold to Microsoft when they were offered an obscene (and insane) amount of money for the company. The fact that they didn't was even dumber than Microsoft actually offering $53 billion for the company. Microsoft shareholders kind of dodged a bullet when that deal fell through.

      Yahoo turning down Microsoft is like Groupon turning down Google's offer of several billion. There's a lot of due diligence involved in multi-billion dollar transactions and neither deal would have gone through, even if the target company had accepted the offer.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @10:20AM (#51041129)

        Yahoo turning down Microsoft is like Groupon turning down Google's offer of several billion.

        Agreed. It was remarkably stupid on the part of Groupon to turn that offer down. Obviously it's easy to say that in hindsight but I remember thinking these companies were stupid to turn down that kind of money which was clearly well beyond their current valuations.

        There's a lot of due diligence involved in multi-billion dollar transactions and neither deal would have gone through, even if the target company had accepted the offer.

        I've worked in M&A in years gone by. If the offers had been accepted they almost certainly would have gone through. Much of the due diligence was already done by the time the offer was made. The only thing that would have derailed them would be anti-trust concerns but those probably wouldn't have been a problem for either the Yahoo or Groupon deals.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          When I got the offer to buy my company, I spoke with a lawyer and spent a few days talking with the employees and my family. It was a pretty nice number. I agree to (mostly) accept the offer and the sale was completed within a month, on paper. They'd already done due diligence before they made the offer. I might have been able to get more money from the company for the sale but I bargained for other things instead (such as them retaining staff for a period of time or offering severance packages - even if an

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Does anyone use Yahoo anymore?"

      Perhaps not on Slashdot, but it is actually currently the third most used web property in US, after Google and Facebook.

      The reason the stock is depressed is not to lack of users and usage, but lack of growth and future prospects.

    • It's hard to concisely explain their business model anymore which is usually a bad sign for a company.

      Their business model is evidently asshattery [computerworld.com] indistinguishable from malware [wordpress.com], which is an even worse sign for a company.

    • After 17 years I actually have to move off my Yahoo mail. Yahoo has become too pathetic to be trusted. Where the fuck to go now, who knows?

  • I hear a lot about this company named "Yahoo", but can someone explain me what they do ?

    Maybe it is become I am European, but I have never used/seen/visited it, and I have been using the web for 20 years now...
    • Once AltaVista came about Yahoo was kinda useless, I actually had a preference for web crawler anyway. It was a web directory, so it catagorized sites, in therory making finding stuff that was of interest easier.

      When web indexed became a thing, it was pretty useless for search, they then tried to become a homepage (which turns out nobody wants), and email after hotmail offered (their email client actually has a lot to offer, not better, but not worse than Gmail, just different).

      I think they try to produce s

      • Re: What is Yahoo ? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fuzznutz ( 789413 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @09:34AM (#51040749)
        I used Yahoo when they were top dog as my primary search engine back in the day. They were the big guys then. Unfortunately, they were the first to jump whole hog onto the pop-up/pop-under bandwagon. That was before browser plugin and built-in pop-up blockers had been created. Every click regenerated a new pop-up. Their site instantly became unusable. (Remember X-10, anyone?)

        It took me less than 24 hours and I found this new relatively unknown search engine called Google, people had been talking about which had a nice clean interface and NO POP-UPS. I changed my homepage and never looked back. Yahoo shot themselves in the foot and gave Google a serious foothold in the market they owned. When they became a "portal", I knew they were done. They damaged their brand, fell behind in technology and eventually became an also-ran.
        • But even then, their search engine was just altavista with more ads if I'm not mistaken.

          They completely missed the web index vs web directory shift, and were using their name only from a very early time.

          And yes, X10, I still don't know what it is. , buI remember it. Some kind of home automation standard, but cameras were all that was advertised?

        • When I discovered Google, it became the location for the 'home' button almost immediately too. I still have a legacy email account with Yahoo. It's an account I use when I sign up to "Internet Portals", like /.

        • Pretty much my story as well. I shifted around between Webcrawler, Altavista, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, but when I got turned on to Google, I was permanently moved over to it in less than a day. I keep my Yahoo account alive for a few things, but if it dies, I'm not going to lose any sleep.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        From what I can tell now they're an investment company, with Alibaba being the bulk of their value.

        Yes and all those shares in Alibaba at that are not exactly unencumbered in terms of legal questions surrounding their value. It depends on Alibaba doing what they promise to do with the subsidiary the shares are actually in.

        What legal recourse the share holders have if Alibaba ultimately decides to alter the terms is an open question. It also supposed the Chinese government won't for whatever reason decide to interfere with something that is well playing a bit fast and loose with their foreign investment

      • Yahoo wasn't late to webmail, they just sucked at things like spam filtering and web design so Google ate their lunch in spite of coming out considerably later. Yahoo's infrastructure was also complete crap - Netapp filers I seem to recall - allowing Google to blow them way on storage limits. Remember Gmail landed with 1GB limit on april fool's day, but it wasn't a joke. Yahoo eventually got a clue and went to a Linux + raw disks data center strategy like Google but they were too far behind to catch up and

    • What did you use in the three years before Google?
    • by starless ( 60879 )

      I hear a lot about this company named "Yahoo", but can someone explain me what they do ?

      They provide email addresses that are handy when selling stuff to dubious people on craigslist, or communicating with possibly
      dubious people you met via okcupid or tindr.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @09:24AM (#51040675) Homepage

      I hear a lot about this company named "Yahoo", but can someone explain me what they do ?

      Search and portals, they also own Flickr.

      Honestly, if you need to know about Yahoo, just Google it. ;-)

      • Yes and I find their managment of Flickr baffling. For years I paid for a Pro account. That gave you additional disk space and meant all your photos were viewable (I think standard users they used to only display the most recent 250 or something). Then they decided to redisgn the site (which had been largely unchanged for many years, possible since launch) and gave all users (including free accounts) 1TB of storage and all photos displayed. The only thing I think you now get as a Pro user is no ads when you
    • They were one of the first search engines / web portals on the net before Google even came about. Site is only useful for their webmail now, IMO.
    • Why don't you Google it and find out?
    • As a 45yo french guy on the net since early 90s, I am the same... I went to altavista or lycos for a search engine, had an hotmail account in the 90s. But yahoo? I never went on their web page in 20+ years
  • Who would be willing to buy an asset worth less than zero?

  • The Anti-Google (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @08:55AM (#51040493)

    I have been following Yahoo since their IPO, and I have never really been sure what they actually wanted to do (except to spend their pile of cash acquiring stuff). While Google has always seemed very focused in increasing their share of the search / information processing market, Yahoo (which started, remember, as What Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle!, i.e., a web directory) was going to own search, then started using Google, then build their own (pretty bad) search engine after letting Google get big. That was pretty much par for the course. I can remember sitting through numerous presentations on this or that (Yahoo! Music!) where it seemed like the basic business model was "we will buy a promising startup, rebrand it as Yahoo and then let it die on the vine."

    In other words, like a lot of Silicon Valley, they have made a lot of money, but it has been investor money, not actual revenue.

  • FD: I have the legacy email account through an internet provider.

    As recently as 2007, they were still listed as the #2 search engine. [thesearchenginelist.com]

    I still remember those stupid commercials. "Ya-Hooooooo!"

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      As recently as 2007, they were still listed as the #2 search engine.

      Yea but in the perspective of internet history, that is like saying As recently as 215 yeas ago France owned most of the land west of the Mississippi river.

  • Since yahoo bought the entire backlog of SNL footage and has held it hostage for the past few years, if they DO go under....who will be the next company to grab it all up and hold it hostage?
  • Don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @10:18AM (#51041105) Homepage Journal

    Yahoo is/was famous (infamous?) for their email, portal, and search. They also have a few well known properties that aren't branded as Yahoo, such as Flickr. But all of these are Internet businesses. What, if anything, do they own that's not Internet? Isn't Yahoo minus Internet = -1?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They seem to have expanded in Japan. They off broadband and mobile service (I think they resell DoCoMo basically). Their auction site is still popular over there, more popular than eBay. People still use their search engine and homepage.

      Somehow the Japanese team got it. It's interesting how often this happens. A foreign company comes in and sets up a local subsidiary, fails and the Japanese arm goes independent and flourishes. For example, the Lawson chain of convenience stores originated in the US, but the

      • Heh, that almost happened with Commodore, with the successful UK arm scraping the cash together for a buy-out of the loss making US-based corporation in '93 (or whenever it was they went bust for the last time), only for Escom to overstretch itself and sweep in at the last minute, killing any chance C= would have survived as we knew it.

        *sigh*

        So really what they mean is they're selling off the non-JP arm?

  • When is the last time I used Yahoo! for anything?! It was before I switched to using AltaVista because I thought it was that much better. That's the time frame involved. I don't know anyone that uses Yahoo!. I just looked at their page. They're still going after the "Internet Portal" thing, apparently; it's cluttered and claims to offer everything under the sun, but does it in a way that makes me click, click, click and seems entirely geared toward reading and content consumption.

    It's like they're stuck bef

  • I haven't used Yahoo since I switched to AltaVista. That's a long, long time ago.

    Just loaded up their homepage. It looks like they're still trying to do the "Internet Portal" thing, it's all very, very texty, tries to cover every last topic, requires multiple clicks, and seems social and mobile unfriendly. Like they're stuck in 2001 or something.

    I don't know anyone that uses Yahoo. I can't think of a use case for using Yahoo. The "Internet Homepage" model just isn't something that people do any longer. Even

  • It's a good example of the principle: "A-level people hire A-level people. B-level people hire C-level people".
  • Yahoo games used to be one of the most popular places to play a ton of board game clones, but Yahoo snubbed mobile devices for years. What makes this extra mystifying is that almost all of their games were written in Java, and most mobile devices support Java. Why weren't they ported?

    History was recently repeated when several shows such as Community were purchased to promote Yahoo's video streaming service, "Yahoo Screen". But the apps and Chromecast support didn't exist until the season was almost over, an

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