Tue, Feb. 17, 4:49 PM
- Though the ink is barely dry on a $485.6M funding round valuing the company at ~$10B, Bloomberg reports Snapchat is looking to raise as much as $500M at a valuation "as high as $19 billion." That would make the ephemeral messaging platform the third-most-valuable VC-backed startup, behind Xiaomi and Uber, and give it a valuation nearly equal to the $22B paid by Facebook for WhatsApp.
- Snapchat's monthly active user count is believed to be nearing 200M. Unlike WhatsApp (700M+ MAUs), Snapchat's user base skews towards the U.S. (by far the world's biggest ad market), but it also skews towards younger Americans with less disposable income.
- More than 700M "snaps" are sent, and over 500M stories viewed, on Snapchat's platform daily. A recently-launched video content service (called Discover) has won the support of ESPN, CNN, and rumored investor Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).
Fri, Feb. 13, 6:51 AM
Wed, Feb. 11, 11:56 AM
Wed, Feb. 4, 2:38 AM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has decided to spin off its Small Business unit, which helps small enterprises set up and run their businesses online, as part of the spinoff of its $40B stake in Alibaba.
- "We're mapping out additional investments now for our platform and services," Yahoo Small Business announced on its Tumblr page. "We expect the completion of the transaction to occur in Q4 2015."
Thu, Jan. 29, 9:37 AM
- Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) FQ3 GMV rose 49% Y/Y to RMB787B ($127B). However, its monetization rate (revenue as a % of GMV) fell 35 bps Y/Y to 2.7%, leading revenue growth to only reach 40%. By contrast, monetization rate fell just 1 bps (to 2.30%) in FQ2.
- A major culprit: Mobile grew to 42% of GMV from 36% in FQ2 and 20% a year ago. And the mobile monetization rate (1.96% vs. 1.87% in FQ2 and 1.12% a year ago) remains well below the total rate. Mobile was 30% of revenue vs. 42% of GMV.
- A bright spot: EBITDA rose 34% Y/Y to $2.43B, better than expectations for 24% growth and driving the EPS beat. Heavy spending led EBITDA margin to slip to 58% from 60% a year ago. With stock compensation spend (IPO-driven) rising to 16% of revenue from 4%, and new business initiatives growing, operating expenses rose to 33% of revenue from 30%, and gross margin fell to 71% from 78%.
- China commerce revenue +32% to $3.6B (a slowdown from FQ2's 47%); international commerce (AliExpress-driven) +39% to $284M; cloud computing/infrastructure +85% to $58M; everything else (boosted by acquisitions) +266% to $309M.
- Taobao GMV (driven by smaller merchants) +43% to $80B; Tmall GMV (driven by larger merchants) +60% to $47B. Annual active buyers rose to 334M from 307M in FQ2 and 231M a year ago.
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is following Alibaba lower, and is now down 9% since posting Q4 results and announcing its spinoff plans.
- Alibaba's FQ3 results, PR
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY
Thu, Jan. 29, 9:12 AM
Wed, Jan. 28, 12:40 PM
- After having surged above $51 in AH trading yesterday, Yahoo (YHOO +1.7%) is back below $49 today after beating Q4 estimates, providing light Q1 guidance, and unveiling plans for a tax-free spinoff of its Alibaba stake.
- Hurting Yahoo's cause: Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) is selling off in the wake of the spinoff news - by proxy, Yahoo's SpinCo increases the supply of Alibaba shares - and criticism from Chinese regulators about illicit goods sold on its sites.
- The spinoff has triggered speculation Alibaba could buy back the spinoff shares to lower its share count and/or simplify its share structure. However, as Bloomberg's Matt LeVine observes, to maintain the SpinCo's tax-free status, Yahoo can't have a pre-arranged agreement to sell it back to Alibaba, and the SpinCo will have to wait a year before selling itself. "Until then, SpinCo ought to trade at a discount to Alibaba, since it's just Alibaba plus a tax liability."
- SunTrust's Bob Peck has raised his Yahoo target by $4 to $61. He notes (Alibaba-funded) buybacks have lowered share count by 13% since Q1 2013, and likes CFO Ken Goldman's Yahoo Japan remarks.
- Evercore's Ken Sena estimates the spinoff yields $16/share in tax savings. He values the SpinCo at $48/share, assuming Alibaba trades at the midpoint of current levels and Evercore's $130 target.
- Alibaba reports tomorrow morning.
- Update: Yahoo closed down 3.2%. Alibaba closed down 4.4%.
Tue, Jan. 27, 7:00 PM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has guided in its Q4 earnings slides (.pdf) for Q1 revenue (ex-TAC) of $1.02B-$1.06B, below a $1.1B consensus. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to fall to $200M-$240M from $306M a year earlier, and op. income to $50M-$90M from $149M.
- The company used its Alibaba IPO windfall to buy back $980M worth of shares in Q4 at an average price of $45.26 (contributed to the EPS beat). $9.7B have been bought back since Q2 2012.
- Q4 search revenue (ex-TAC) was nearly flat Y/Y at $462M, after rising 6% in Q3. However, search click revenue (excludes Microsoft payments) rose 18%, driven by a 10% increase in paid clicks and a 7% increase in price per click.
- Display revenue (ex-TAC), still hurt by share loss and the transition to native ads, fell 5% to $464M. Ads sold rose 17%, but price per ad fell 20%. All other revenue rose 2% to $253M.
- Americas revenue was flat Y/Y at $913M. EMEA fell 7% to $87M, and Asia-Pac 7% to $180M. Operating expenses rose 6% to $923M.
- On the CC, CFO Ken Goldman says Yahoo didn't include its Yahoo Japan (OTCPK:YAHOF) stake in the Alibaba spinoff in order to keep the transaction simple, but hints some other move could be on tap. "We are not saying we will not do something."
- Marissa Mayer says Yahoo is talking with Microsoft about the terms of the companies' search alliance; Mayer has made it clear more than once she's not happy with its performance. Not surprisingly, she also suggests Yahoo would love to displace Google (previous) as Apple's Safari search provider.
- YHOO +7.4% AH. Q4 results, Alibaba announcement.
Tue, Jan. 27, 5:35 PM
Tue, Jan. 27, 4:14 PM
- Along with its Q4 results, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) announces its board has "authorized a plan for a tax-free spin-off of the company's remaining holdings in Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) into a newly formed independent registered investment company (SpinCo)."
- Shares in the SpinCo will be "distributed pro rata to Yahoo shareholders, resulting in SpinCo becoming a separate publicly traded company." After the spinoff, Yahoo will own its core business and a 35.5% stake in Yahoo Japan. SpinCo will assume no debt in the deal, and Yahoo will retain its cash.
- The spinoff is expected to be completed in Q4 2015, after a one-year lockup on Yahoo's Alibaba stake expires.
- Yahoo's 384M-share (15%) Alibaba stake has a current market value of $39.5B. The company closed today with a total market cap of $46.7B.
- Yahoo has jumped to $51.08 in AH trading. Alibaba is fractionally higher.
Tue, Jan. 27, 4:06 PM
Mon, Jan. 26, 5:35 PM
Fri, Jan. 16, 2:23 PM
- Prashant Fuloria, formerly the product chief at mobile ad/analytics firm Flurry (acquired by Yahoo last summer), will now oversee all of Yahoo's (YHOO +0.4%) ad products, according to a memo from Marissa Mayer.
- Scott Burke, Yahoo's long-time SVP of ad technology, will report to Fuloria. As will Tod Sacerdoti, the founder/CEO of recently-acquired video ad platform BrightRoll. Fuloria will report directly to Mayer.
- The shakeup comes ahead of Yahoo's Jan. 27 Q4 report. The company's display ad revenue, hurt by share loss to Facebook/Google and a transition to native ad formats (e.g. news stream ads) from traditional banner ads, fell 6% in Q3 to $396M. Search ad revenue rose 6% to $450M.
Thu, Jan. 8, 11:39 AM
- Though Marissa Mayer (NASDAQ:YHOO) is reportedly uninterested in a deal and Tim Armstrong (NYSE:AOL) has dismissed the M&A speculation swirling around his company, activist Starboard Value is once more reiterating its call for a Yahoo/AOL merger.
- Starboard argues a merger would yield cost synergies of $1B-$1.5B/year, help Yahoo carry out "a tax-efficient separation" of its Alibaba/Yahoo Japan stakes, and create "a strong growth platform given AOL's progress in mobile and video advertising."
- The firm also says it's "increasingly concerned" about reports stating Yahoo is thinking of making a big media acquisition with its Alibaba IPO proceeds. In addition, it's not happy with speculation Yahoo is "considering a cash-rich split-off as a structure to separate its non-core minority equity interests," rather than "a spin-off structure or other available alternatives to unlock the full value of the stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan."
- Yahoo has said it will offer more details about its plans to tax-efficiently monetize its remaining Alibaba stake during its Q4 earnings CC (set for Jan. 27).
- Both Yahoo and AOL are rallying. The Nasdaq is up 1.7%.
Thu, Jan. 8, 4:43 AM
- "There's always speculation around us because we have taken a company that was not doing well and ended 2014 with two straight years of growth," announced AOL (NYSE:AOL) chief executive Tim Armstrong, dismissing talks of possible mergers.
- The company had recently been linked to rumors of a possible joint venture with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and a merger with Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).
- Previously: Verizon CEO throws cold water on AOL acquisition rumor (Jan. 06 2015)
Thu, Jan. 8, 3:16 AM
- Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) slice of the U.S. search market, excluding mobile devices, fell to 75.3% last month from 77.5% in November, while Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) share jumped to 10% from 8%, according to analytics firm StatCounter.
- The changes were spurred by a deal in November where Yahoo replaced Google as the default search engine on Firefox browsers in the U.S.
- Google is also facing potentially larger losses on mobile devices amid reports that Apple is considering dropping it as the default search provider on its Safari browser.
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