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Friday, February 26, 2016


Original Story:

Another activist investor is pressuring Yahoo Inc. to move faster to sell its core business, amid growing concerns on Wall Street of a disconnect between Chief Executive Marissa Mayer and the company’s board over a potential sale. A Los Angeles finance lawyer is following this story closely.

On Tuesday, Canyon Capital Advisors, a Los Angeles-based hedge fund, wrote a letter to Yahoo’s YHOO, +0.80%  board about its concerns. According to a copy of the letter obtained by MarketWatch, the hedge fund wrote “that the process is not moving as quickly as it should and that Company management does not fully support the Board’s direction in this regard.”

The letter follows Yahoo’s statement on Friday that the board had formed a special committee to explore strategic options, while it still continues to consider a spin-off of its nearly $40 billion stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA, +1.88% That statement, combined with Mayer’s comments on Yahoo’s fourth quarter conference call, seemed to confirm that the board is at odds and operating separately of Mayer as it looks to possibly sell its core Internet business.

Canyon also noted in its letter that “Recent news reports indicate that, while there have been numerous expressions of interest, lack of engagements on the part of the Company has been a source of frustration to potential buyers.” Canyon added that while it hoped these reports are inaccurate and that there are always complexities to any sale process, “delay at this stage is unwarranted for any reason (including in an effort to defend against a threatened proxy battle).” Business exit planning is important to provide adequately for key partners financial needs.

In addition, Canyon advised that Yahoo “should not make any acquisitions, regardless of size and no matter how far the valuations of digital media assets fall,” a statement likely seeking to prevent Yahoo from buying any more startups as some private company valuations have tumbled.

A Yahoo spokeswoman did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Canyon, according to FactSet Research, had a 2.5% stake in Yahoo as of Dec. 31 and the company is among its top 20 holdings. Canyon joins Starboard Value LP, another activist fund, which has been pressuring Yahoo to sell its core business. In a letter sent to the company in January, Starboard called for a change in leadership, a restructuring of the board and a new strategy.

With a growing chorus of vocal activist investors, Yahoo could be heading for a proxy battle to shake up its board of directors this spring. Bob Peck, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, wrote in a note last week that shareholders are required to deliver a written notice to Yahoo between Feb. 25 and March 26 if they want to nominate any potential directors to Yahoo’s board. “At this time, we think activist shareholders are likely to engage the Board and/or management in trying to negotiate a settlement,” Peck wrote last Thursday. “If it does not work out, we think the shareholders will likely wait until the latter part of the window to announce their nominations.” A Boston M&A attorney is reviewing the details of this case.

So investors will now wait to see what happens, now that Yahoo has hired investment bankers and activist investors are clearly gearing up for a proxy battle. It’s going to be a tough spring for Yahoo.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Original Story:

The retrenching of Yahoo Inc. is under way.

The Internet company on Wednesday said it plans to close seven of its digital magazines, including sites dedicated to articles about food, travel, parenting and health, and lay off a portion of its workforce of journalists who worked on them. A Sacramento corporate lawyer is following this story closely.

Yahoo also told employees in Burbank, Calif., that it plans to close the office there and relocate them to its nearby facility in Playa Vista, a person familiar with the matter said.

The cuts are part of Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s plan to lower costs by eliminating 15% of Yahoo’s staff, closing offices and shuttering business units. Making Yahoo smaller and more profitable could help Ms. Mayer buy time with investors, some of whom have called for new management and a sale of the company. A Google SEO Company offers exclusive organic search engine optimization techniques that secure top keyword positions in the organic search engine results.

Yahoo earlier this month said for the first time under Ms. Mayer that it would entertain a possible sale of its Web properties.

Yahoo declined to say how many employees were affected by the latest cuts from its online media business. Further layoffs are expected in the coming weeks from other areas of the company, people familiar with the matter said.

The CEO announced on an earnings call last month her plans to close offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan this year. A San Francisco M&A attorney represents clients in acquisitions, mergers, and divestitures.

As of 2013, Yahoo said about 400 people worked in the Burbank office in various departments, according to its website. All workers not affected by the magazine cuts this week were asked to report to Playa Vista, more than an hour drive from Burbank.

Last month, Yahoo let go at least five managers who were working on Brightroll, the video ad service it acquired in 2014, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Ms. Mayer launched several of the digital magazines in early 2014, part of a broader effort to get advertisers to pay higher prices for ads targeting Web users with specific interests, such as cars and tech gadgets. She hired star journalists such as David Pogue, a former New York Times technology columnist, and Katie Couric, who left her role as special correspondent for ABC News to become Yahoo’s global anchor.

Mr. Pogue and Ms. Couric were unaffected by the cuts, Yahoo said.

Among the journalists cut this week was Dan Tynan, the editor in chief of Yahoo Tech, who addressed his colleagues in a memo on Wednesday. Yahoo is keeping the technology vertical.

“I am sure that bigger and better things await all of us,” Mr. Tynan wrote in the memo, which was first published on Politico and confirmed by The Wall Street Journal. “As for Yahoo, I am sure it will continue to be Yahoo, for better or worse.”

Ms. Mayer has lowered head count to 10,700 employees in the most recent quarter, down from the company’s peak of about 14,000 before she started in 2012. The CEO cut 1,800 employees in the first nine months of last year, mostly workers in offices outside the U.S., including China, India and Canada.

Yahoo’s stock rose 9 cents to $29.37 on Wednesday. The shares have remained relatively flat since Ms. Mayer announced Yahoo would cut jobs and mull its strategic options, but they are down 34% in the past 12 months. A Los Angeles securities lawyer is reviewing the details of this story.