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Aug. 12, 2015, 9:13 AM
Aug. 3, 2015, 3:58 PM
- Re/code reports Yahoo (YHOO -0.1%) paid $200M in cash to buy social apparel product discovery/shopping site Polyvore, plus up to $40M in employee retention payouts. Bloomberg reports Yahoo paid $230M after factoring $40M in retention payments.
- Yahoo announced the Polyvore acquisition last Friday, without giving a price. Re/code notes Polyvore had ~9M U.S. unique visitors in June (per comScore), up 36% Y/Y.
- Thanks in part to its Alibaba IPO windfall, Yahoo had $7B in cash/investments at the end of Q2, and $1.2B in debt.
Jul. 31, 2015, 5:34 PM
- Polyvore, whose site and apps bear a strong resemblance to Pinterest, relies on its community to deliver fashion/beauty product recommendations to other users, via the Pinterest-like "sets" they create. The company generates revenue by driving referral traffic to online retailers whose products are displayed.
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is buying Polyvore for an undisclosed sum. Marissa Mayer: "Polyvore has perhaps the most amazingly engaged digital community of passionate style lovers creating shoppable content anywhere ... We believe that bringing this type of community and commerce-driven experience to Yahoo’s industry-leading content will transform the user experience across our digital magazines and verticals. And, when it comes to advertising, Polyvore’s technology will bring a proven native ad model, new compelling native ad formats, and strong advertising relationships with more than 350 retailers to Yahoo’s fast-growing native advertising platform, Yahoo Gemini."
- Polyvore CEO Jess Lee will join Yahoo and report directly to Mayer.
- Notable Yahoo acquisitions: Flurry, BrightRoll, Tumblr
Jul. 29, 2015, 2:18 PM
- Looking to gain a better foothold in a huge and hotly-competitive mobile messaging market, Yahoo (YHOO -0.4%) is launching Livetext, an iOS/Android app that lets users hold video chats in which text messages/emojis appear can on top of a video stream, but for which no audio is present.
- Yahoo: "Connecting with your friends should be spontaneous, convenient and memorable - but also fleeting, just like a real-life conversation ... We see video as a way to make your conversations more authentic, and we see text as a way to connect that’s quick and non-intrusive ... Yahoo Livetext puts your words and your friend’s real-time reactions at the center of your conversation."
- Yahoo product manager Arjun Seti: "We want to create the emotional connection. We want to make sure you can get into a conversation as quickly as possible." Like Snapchat, Livetext is ephemeral, with video/text deleted as soon as the app is closed.
- Directly or indirectly, the app also competes with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, Line, Tango, imo, BBM, and a slew of other mobile messaging platforms.
Jul. 23, 2015, 11:51 AM
- Lisa Utzschneider, hired away from Amazon just last year to be Yahoo's (YHOO +0.8%) Americas sales chief, is now the company's chief revenue officer. All of Yahoo's global ad sales teams will report to her.
- Marissa Mayer: "Since joining Yahoo last year, Lisa has been pivotal in structuring the sales teams across North and South America for growth. She has successfully integrated sales across Yahoo, BrightRoll, Flurry and Tumblr to help bring new opportunities and tremendous value to advertisers."
- News of the appointment comes two days after Yahoo slightly beat Q2 revenue estimates, but also provided soft Q3 guidance thanks in part to rising traffic acquisition costs. Search revenue fell 3% Y/Y in Q2 - it was better if one backs out Microsoft revenue/search payment - and display ad sales rose 3%.
- Yahoo has seen plenty of ad leadership upheaval during the Mayer era. COO Henrique de Castro was fired in early 2014 following a rocky 15-month tenure; AOL vet Ned Brody was effectively replaced as Americas ad chief by Utzschneider after just 13 months at Yahoo; and North American ad sales chief Kevin Gentzel (hired from the Washington Post) recently departed after less than a year on the job.
Jul. 21, 2015, 5:39 PM
- Though Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) slightly beat Q2 revenue estimates (while missing on EPS), it has guided in its earnings slides (.pdf) for Q3 revenue (ex-TAC) of $1B-$1.04B, below a $1.07B consensus. Op. income is expected to fall to $50M-$90M from Q3 2014's $156M.
- Also drawing attention: Traffic acquisition costs (boosted by the Firefox search deal and mobile revenue-sharing) rose to $200M from Q1's $183M and Q2 2014's $44M. TAC is expected to rise to $230M-$270M in Q3.
- Business performance (ex-TAC): Search revenue -3% Y/Y to $415M. Display revenue +3% to $407M. Other revenue +1% to $221M. Search paid clicks +13%, price per click +4% (offset by TAC growth and lower Microsoft revenue-sharing payments). Display ads sold +9%; price per ad +10% (offset by TAC growth). Americas revenue +5%; EMEA -17%; Asia-Pac -11%.
- Financials: Non-GAAP operating expenses rose 10% Y/Y to $935M. Yahoo ended Q2 with $7B in cash/investments, and $1.2B in convertible debt. No buybacks occurred.
- On the CC, CFO Ken Goldman states Yahoo is still figuring out what to do with its Yahoo Japan stake, and has no announcement to make yet.
- YHOO -1% AH to $39.35. With the lion's share of Yahoo's equity value tied to its Alibaba/Yahoo Japan stakes, the results/guidance haven't yielded a major reaction.
- Q2 results, PR
Jul. 21, 2015, 4:08 PM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Q2 EPS of $0.16 misses by $0.02.
- Revenue of $1.04B (flat Y/Y) beats by $10M.
- Shares -1%.
Jul. 20, 2015, 5:30 PM
Jul. 17, 2015, 5:04 PM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has submitted a Form N-2 filing with the SEC detailing the company's plans to spin off its 384M-share (15%) Alibaba stake into a separate, publicly-traded, company. (the filing)
- The spinoff, which will also contain Yahoo's Small Business unit, will be known as Aabaco Holdings. Amid fears (caused by an IRS official's remarks) the IRS will reject the spinoff, Yahoo reiterates it plans to complete the transaction in Q4.
- YHOO +1.1% AH to $40.11. Q2 results arrive on July 21.
- Update: In the Risk Factors section of the filing, Yahoo mentions the potential for an adverse IRS ruling. "[T]he IRS recently announced that it is reconsidering its ruling policy with respect to certain issues under Section 355 of the Code, which could potentially impact Yahoo’s ability to obtain the IRS Ruling. Accordingly, there is a risk that the IRS might not issue the IRS Ruling or might determine to promulgate new administrative guidance prior to the Spin-Off that could adversely impact the tax-free treatment of the Spin-Off even if Yahoo previously received the IRS Ruling..."
Jul. 8, 2015, 10:47 PM
- Yahoo (YHOO -2.6%) is jumping into the daily fantasy sports arena, a potentially lucrative field that is getting more crowded as big media firms pick out partners.
- The company launched its site to host daily and weekly games where fans assemble rosters and earn points based on game performance in those short-term competitions.
- An estimated 57M participants in the U.S. and Canada average spending $465 a year on fees and materials related to the short-term fantasy games, Ipsos says. That adds up to about $2.6B in entry fees, and potentially hundreds of millions in revenue for Yahoo.
- The space is dominated now by FanDuel and DraftKings -- the former of which has major investments from Comcast as well as KKR and Shamrock Ventures, and the latter with its own millions in venture funding and a relationship with ESPN. Both companies have been valued at $1B.
- Yahoo's not starting from scratch, though: Daily games are dependent on quick and voluminous data, which the company has been offering sports fans for years.
- Previously: Blistering pace of growth at FanDuel (Jan. 13 2015)
Jul. 7, 2015, 11:08 AM
- Though not seeing the 10%+ declines witnessed by many U.S.-traded Chinese tech peers, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) are down sharply following fresh overnight losses for the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges.
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), whose 384M-share Alibaba stake is currently worth $29.4B, is once more following in Alibaba's footsteps. The Nasdaq is down 1.5%.
- Alibaba has made fresh post-IPO lows. Baidu is less than $7 away from a 52-week low of $176.69. Alibaba now trades for 21x an FY17 (ends March '17) EPS consensus of $3.72. Baidu trades for 20x a 2016 EPS consensus of $9.29.
Jun. 16, 2015, 2:58 PM
- Amid ongoing fears the IRS will reject Yahoo's (YHOO +0.8%). proposed Alibaba stake spinoff (triggered by May remarks from an official), Yahoo is going forward with its spinoff efforts, said Marissa Mayer at a Bloomberg conference talk. “We’re proceeding with our plan as proposed ... I can’t presume to speak for the IRS but given our understanding of that fact pattern, we should proceed with the transaction as planned."
- Mayer also declared 2014 was a year of "experimentation in terms of Yahoo's content strategy." Now armed with more data on what content appeals to users, the company is directing its efforts towards creating more material similar to the popular items.
- When talking of her efforts to turn around Yahoo, Mayer's engineering background and mindset loom large. "To me, when I look at [Yahoo's problems], I see engineering problems. Those principles apply to everything from the culture of the company to how we grow our products ... I look at a lot of data ... to understand if we make these changes will they be positive or negative for the user experience, or for the revenue model."
- Yahoo has ticked higher following the comments. The Nasdaq is up 0.6%.
Jun. 12, 2015, 7:30 PM
- Roughly 18 months after first striking a deal with Katie Couric, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has extended its deal with the news anchor. Re/code reports Couric's annual pay is being increased "from upwards of $6 million to $10 million."
- Couric is one of several high-profile Yahoo media hires has made during the Marissa Mayer era. During a May interview, Mayer insisted (amid criticism of the media hires) Yahoo is getting a good return on its investment in Couric. "You can do things like measure the ads that you’ve sold against those programs and the follow-on views. And they all mean this is a very profitable and good investment. But I will say, to me it was really more about raising [Yahoo's] journalistic standard..."
Jun. 11, 2015, 2:53 PM
- After talking with tax lawyers and lobbyists, policy analysis/research firm Capstone thinks recent comments from an IRS official about potentially changing tax-free spinoff rules were "carefully choreographed" by the IRS and Treasury, and "designed to send a message to Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) concerning the Alibaba spinoff, though neither company was mentioned by name."
- Capstone thinks an adverse ruling would have an $11B impact on Yahoo, whose 384M-share Alibaba stake is currently worth $33.7B. It also notes (citing a law firm) the aggregate value of all spinoffs occurring in 2012 and 2013 was respectively just $41B and $33B.
- Yahoo tumbled on May 19 after an IRS official stated the agency is reviewing rules on "spinoffs of trades or businesses that are small compared with a company’s other assets," but recovered a chunk of its losses after responding to the comments.
Jun. 5, 2015, 2:27 AM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is shutting down a few of its services, including its Yahoo Maps site, as it realigns itself to focus on search and digital content.
- Yahoo Pipes is on schedule to go into read-only mode (no Pipes creation) on August 30, and API GeoPlanet and PlaceSpotter will meet their demise.
- Yahoo also highlighted it will no longer support older versions of Apple's iPhone operating system and several regional media sites.
Jun. 3, 2015, 11:42 AM
- On Sunday, Oct. 25, Yahoo (YHOO +0.7%) will livestream a game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars for free to users worldwide, and monetize it by selling ads. Re/code reports industry execs thinks Yahoo is paying at least $20M for the privilege, and that another tech company made "a very competitive bid."
- The deal is the first of its kind for the NFL, and appears to be a trial balloon: It features two small-market teams, and (on account of being played in London) will air at 9:30AM ET. However, as Re/code notes, the airtime is more friendly to European viewers whom the NFL could be trying to win over with some free sample content.
- CBS will handle production of the game. Though broadcast rights to most NFL games are locked up through 2022 or longer, a slate of Thursday night games becomes available next year. The NFL could sell the rights to an Internet company ... or use Web firms as a bargaining chip to strike a better deal with a traditional distributor, as it apparently did for the Sunday Ticket package.
- Past Yahoo video investments: Katie Couric, Saturday Night Live, the BrightRoll acquisition
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