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Reports: Yahoo COO under pressure, HK rejects Alibaba IPO proposals

  • AdWeek reports Yahoo (YHOO) COO/sales chief Henrique De Castro is "feeling increasing pressure to deliver better ad results," and has "found himself on the outs" with Marissa Mayer, who hired him away from common ex-employer Google last fall.
  • The performance of Yahoo's display ad ops - sales fell 11% Y/Y in both Q1 and Q2, evidence of share loss to the likes of Google and Facebook - is said to be partly responsible for the pressure.
  • De Castro has also reportedly been criticized for moving too slowly, struggling to build his team, and failing to "[endear] himself to Madison Avenue." A Feb. speech given at an advertiser conference (video) is declared "infamous."
  • De Castro was lured away from Google with a 4-year, $56M compensation package. At the time, former co-workers praised his intelligence and criticized his people skills (Mayer has occasionally received similar reviews). Somewhere, Michael Barrett must be smiling.
  • Meanwhile, Marbridge Consulting reports Hong Kong's securities regulator has "rejected all proposals that would provide Alibaba with an exception to [Hong Kong exchange] regulations," including a board structure that would allow Alibaba to nominate 5 of 9 members (previous).
  • Alibaba has reportedly been hoping to list in HK (and thereby avoid U.S. securities/reporting rules), but has also been looking to maintain founder/management control in a way that HK securities laws typically don't allow.
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