Thu, Jan 29, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Yahoo posts loss, defies expectations

NEW BOSS Carol Bartz talked tough, saying that she was not looking to sell the company but would do what was best for Yahoo’s shareholders and customers

AFP , SAN FRANCISCO

Yahoo reported a quarterly net loss on Tuesday but beat analysts’ expectations as its new chief executive vowed to do whatever it takes to right the Internet pioneer’s financial ship.

“It is my job to make sure we look at anything that makes sense long term for the company and creates value,” said Carol Bartz, who took Yahoo’s helm last week.

“So yes, everything is on the table. This is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens. It is my job to make sure if there is something interesting to look at, we look at it,” she said.

Bartz assured analysts and news reporters on a conference call that she “didn’t come here to sell the company” and refused to discuss reports that Yahoo executives have been meeting with counterparts from Microsoft.

Yahoo spurned Microsoft’s efforts last year to buy the California firm for nearly US$47 billion.

Microsoft has expressed continued interest in purchasing the Internet search portion of Yahoo’s business to better battle Google in the online advertising arena.

“I didn’t come here to sell the company,” Bartz said, leaving open the option of some kind of deal with Microsoft.

“It is my job to do what is best for our shareholders and our customers. I am still working my way through the thought process,” she said.

Bartz maintained that search is an “incredibly valuable” part of Yahoo’s business.

The Internet pioneer reported a net loss of US$303 million for the fourth quarter of last year compared with a net profit of US$206 million for the same quarter a year earlier.

Leaving aside a goodwill write-down of US$488 million and restructuring charges of US$108 million, Yahoo posted an adjusted net profit for the quarter of US$238 million.

Revenues fell 1 percent in the fourth quarter from a year ago to US$1.81 billion.

Earnings per share were US$0.17, while Wall Street analysts had expected Yahoo to report making US$0.13 a share. For the year, Yahoo’s earnings per share were US$0.46 higher than the US$0.42 expected by analysts.

Net profit for the year was US$424 million, down 35.7 percent from last year.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, Yahoo delivered adjusted operating cash flow above the midpoint of guidance for the fourth quarter,” Bartz said.

“The company also made important investments while aggressively managing costs, leaving us better positioned to weather the economic downturn and emerge stronger when advertiser spending improves,” she said. “We have work to do, but I am excited by Yahoo’s opportunities.”

When asked for details of her “road map” for Yahoo this year, Bartz took a jab at unconfirmed media reports and speculation by responding: “I thought I’d buy the New York Times tomorrow ... Just kidding.”

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