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Yahoo logs loss as it courts potential buyers

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 06:37

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Yahoo on Tuesday reported a quarterly loss as the struggling Internet pioneer continued to court potential buyers and examine other strategic options.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Yahoo on Tuesday reported a quarterly loss as the struggling Internet pioneer continued to court potential buyers and examine other strategic options.

Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer said the company has "made substantial progress towards potential strategic alternatives" while working to trim costs and drive growth.

The company reported a net loss of US$99 million in the first quarter, compared with a US$21 million profit a year earlier.

Revenues slumped to US$1.09 billion compared to US$1.23 billion in same period a year earlier.

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Yahoo chief financial officer Ken Goldman said the results were "at the high end or above our guidance ranges," and that company continued to look at "the strategic alternatives process as a top priority."

The company offered no specifics but said that its board committee and legal advisors had talks "with interested strategic and financial parties."

Yahoo shares rose 1.5 per cent in after-hours trade following the release.

US telecoms giant Verizon has emerged as a leading contender to take over struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo as other big names reportedly drop out, according to US financial media.

Verizon Communications' chances climbed as other big names including Google parent Alphabet, Time Inc and US broadcasting and cable television group Comcast all decided against making an offer, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed sources, just before a reported deadline for submissions passed on Monday.

Bloomberg News, also citing unnamed sources, said Verizon Communications is now vying for Yahoo's core business against at least two other bidders: TPG, a private equity firm, and YP Holdings, the online advertising business of what was previously called Yellowpages.com.

The parent group behind British tabloid Daily Mail, Daily Mail and General Trust, revealed last week that it was in talks with "a number of parties" over a potential bid for Yahoo but it is unclear if the negotiations resulted in an offer.

Yahoo has been working to separate its core business from its valuable stake in Chinese Internet colossus Alibaba, and any deal is likely to be for the declining "core" operations.

Although Yahoo is one of the best-known names on the Internet and is used by around one billion people, it has fallen behind Google in web searches and has been steadily losing ground in online advertising.

In February, Yahoo said it was cutting 15 per cent of its workforce and narrowing its focus as it explored "strategic alternatives."

Ms Mayer has at the same time been working to revive growth and has made priorities of what she refers to as "Mavens" - mobile, video, native advertising and social media.

Some shareholders are impatient, and one activist investment group has launched a bid to gain control of the Yahoo board, calling the transformation efforts a failure.

Industry tracker eMarketer forecast that digital ad revenue taken in this year at Yahoo will fall nearly 14 per cent to US$2.83 billion while money raked in by Silicon Valley rivals Google and Facebook will rise.

AFP

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