Wed, May 20, 9:21 AM
- A Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) statement made via Tumblr: "Yahoo understands that the IRS’s statement is not specific to Yahoo’s planned Q4 2015 spin-off of its remaining stake in Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) and Yahoo Small Business, reflects no change in applicable law, and does not affect previously filed ruling requests. Yahoo filed its pending ruling request with the IRS in Q1 2015. Yahoo continues to work toward completing the planned spin-off in Q4 2015."
- Shares fell 7.6% just before the close yesterday after it was learned IRS senior technician reviewer Isaac Zimbalist had stated the IRS is reviewing rules on "spinoffs of trades or businesses that are small compared with a company’s other assets," and would hold in abeyance new spinoff ruling requests. He added existing applications would still be reviewed, while noting this was subject to change.
- Zimbalist: "The issue comes down to whether we’ve dropped a hot-dog stand or a lemonade stand into a business that is primarily publicly traded stocks, cash and other wonderful things that I call appreciated property." Yahoo has included its Small Business services unit with the Alibaba spinoff in an attempt to meet the IRS' Active Business requirement. BGC's Colin Gillis notes the IRS' review could also have implications for a potential Yahoo Japan spinoff.
- Yahoo has rebounded to $42.11 in premarket trading. Alibaba is nearly unchanged.
Tue, May 19, 4:28 PM
- Bloomberg reports the IRS is considering rule changes about "spinoffs of trades or businesses that are small compared with a company’s other assets." An IRS official states the agency will hold in abeyance new spinoff ruling requests while the issue is studied. Existing requests will continue to be reviewed, but that's subject to change.
- The report has sparked fears the IRS won't sign off on Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) plans to do a tax-free spinoff of its 384M-share Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) stake later this year.
- Yahoo closed down 7.6%. Alibaba rose 1.3% on hopes 384M more shares won't become available for sale.
- Earlier: Yahoo takes late-day tumble
Tue, May 19, 3:46 PM
Tue, May 12, 10:34 AM
- Though the Nasdaq is down 0.9%, Yahoo (YHOO +1%) is higher following news Verizon is acquiring AOL (i.e. the company Starboard Value dreamed about merging with Yahoo) for $4.4B. Demand-side/programmatic ad tech platform owner Rocket Fuel (FUEL +3.4%), which competes with AOL's ad tech ops, is also up.
- Citi's Mark May: "We view this deal as a positive for YHOO as it shows there are strategic buyers for this type of asset and because we view YHOO as a strong asset that is currently only valued at 1x our 2016 EBITDA estimate." With Yahoo spinning off its Alibaba stake later this year and exploring options for its Yahoo Japan stake, core Yahoo might soon be available by itself.
- Last week, Rocket Fuel received an unsolicited $350M buyout offer from rival Gravity4 (and jumped in response). However, questions remains about Gravity4's ability to finance the bid, which has been viewed by many as a publicity stunt.
Thu, May 7, 9:30 AM
- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has jumped to $89.05 after posting an FQ4 beat amid low expectations. Along with the results, the company has announced COO Daniel Zhang is its new CEO, effective May 10; current CEO Jonathan Lu will stay on board as vice chairman, joining Joseph Tsai in holding that title. Jack Ma remains executive chairman.
- Revenue growth accelerated to 45% Y/Y from FQ3's 40%. Chinese marketplaces GMV rose 40% to RMB600B ($96.6B), a slowdown from FQ3's 49%. Mobile accounted for 51% of GMV, up from 42% in FQ3 and 36% in FQ2. Annual active buyers +5% Q/Q and +37% Y/Y to 350M.
- A stabilizing monetization rate (revenue as a % of GMV) helped make the FQ4 beat possible: After falling 35 bps Y/Y in seasonally strong FQ3 to 2.7%, monetization rate fell just 1 bps Y/Y in FQ4 to 2.17%. Making this possible: Mobile monetization rate rose to 1.73% from 0.98% a year ago. Altogether, mobile revenue rose 352% Y/Y and was 40% of China retail marketplace revenue vs. 30% in FQ3 and 12% a year ago.
- Segment performance: China retail commerce revenue +39% Y/Y to $2.11B. China wholesale +42% to $136M. International wholesale +19% to $190M. International retail +53% to $70M. Cloud computing/Web infrastructure +82% to $63M. Everything else (boosted by acquisitions) +169% to $243M. Taobao GMV +29% to $61B; Tmall GMV +62% to $35B.
- Financials: Free cash flow +143% Y/Y to $914M; it trailed net income of $1.25B. R&D spend ($491M) was 17% of revenue vs. 10% a year ago; sales/marketing ($408M) was 15% of revenue vs. 11%; G&A ($400M) was 14% of revenue vs. 4%. Soaring stock compensation expenses (driven by the IPO) contributed to the spending growth. Alibaba had $19.7B in cash at the end of March.
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has risen to $44.95 thanks to Alibaba. SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) has seen the value of 797.7M-share Alibaba stake grow by over $7B.
- Alibaba's FQ4 results, PR
Thu, May 7, 9:20 AM| 2 Comments
Wed, Apr. 29, 1:50 PM
- Alibaba is down 3.4% following news Jack Ma recently told employees Alibaba won't add to its headcount this year, sparking concerns about the company's near-term performance ahead of its May 7 FQ4 report. Yahoo (YHOO -2.4%), whose 384M-share Alibaba stake (due to be spun off later this year) is currently worth $31.5B, has followed Alibaba lower amid a 0.7% drop for the Nasdaq.
- Separately, BI's Nicholas Carlson reports Yahoo is working on two new messaging apps as it belatedly tries to benefit from a mobile messaging boom. One app is said to be meant for group messaging, and the other for one-to-one communication.
- The Information previously reported Yahoo is working on a messaging app that "combines live and recorded video and text, blending aspects of live video apps like Meerkat, YouNow and Skype and the recorded video messages popularized by Snapchat." Yahoo was rumored to have been interested in participating in a recent Snapchat funding round, but there hasn't been any confirmation it did so.
Wed, Apr. 8, 1:48 PM
- Alibaba is up 3.7% thanks to a big Chinese Internet stock rally, and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) isn't getting left out of the fun. The company's 384M-share Alibaba stake is currently worth $32.7B.
- Meanwhile, The Information reports Marissa Mayer is planning a big reorg that could reduce Tumblr's independence. Mayer has reportedly asked Tumblr founder/CEO David Karp which Yahoo SVP he'd like to report to.
- A likely reason for the shakeup: The Information states Tumblr, which has continued seeing strong traffic growth since Yahoo's 2013 acquisition of the blogging platform, is unlikely to hit a $100M 2015 revenue target. Tumblr has been busy launching new ad formats, but some brands have been nervous about running ads against its content.
- Also: Mobile product chief Adam Cahan might assume control of video products, and Simon Khalaf, CEO of leading mobile analytics platform Flurry (acquired last year) is reportedly being promoted to SVP, and could assume responsibility for Tumblr.
Mon, Mar. 16, 10:56 AM
- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) is up sharply in early trading after Chinese premier Li Keqiang suggested (amid slowing GDP growth) fresh stimulus efforts will be launched if needed, sparking a 2.1% overnight rally for the Shanghai exchange. Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is naturally following Alibaba higher.
- The gains come two days before a massive 437M-share lockup expiration arrives. 100M of the shares are subject to employee trading restrictions that will remain in place until Alibaba's FQ4 report (expected in May) is released.
- Short-covering could be aiding today's gains: Alibaba had 56.9M shares shorted as of Feb. 27, the highest figure recorded since a September IPO in which 368M shares were sold.
Wed, Mar. 4, 1:58 PM
- A day after slumping to new post-IPO lows and coming within $0.03 of $80, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has seen dip-buyers emerge in large numbers. Naturally, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is along for the ride.
- The gains come as a Chinese publication reports Jack Ma once said he considered acquiring Yahoo, which plans to spin off its Alibaba stake into a publicly-traded company in Q4. Ma's alleged comments: "The acquisition of Yahoo is something I worked [on] a couple of years ago, this is a political problem, not an economic problem, Yahoo is a media [company], more sensitive."
- There has already been speculation Alibaba will try to buy Yahoo's spinoff (much less politically challenging than buying the whole of Yahoo) at some point. Bloomberg's Matt Levine has noted the spinoff will have to wait a year before a deal occurs, in order to maintain its tax-free status.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud services unit (a giant in the Chinese cloud infrastructure market) has opened a Silicon Valley data center, its first in the U.S. For now, the data center will cater to Chinese companies with U.S. operations, but it plans to go after non-Chinese clients later this year. When it does, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and a slew of other incumbents will be waiting.
Tue, Mar. 3, 1:46 PM
- Alibaba (BABA -3.3%) has slumped to new post-IPO lows on a down day for equities, and at one point was just $0.03 above $80. Shares remain 19% above their $68 IPO price.
- Yahoo (YHOO -3.8%), which has seen the value of its 384M-share Alibaba stake (set to be spun off) fall to $31.1B, is following Alibaba lower. Yahoo's market cap stands at $41B.
- Possibly hurting Alibaba: The WSJ has taken a look at the use of fake orders (i.e. "brushing) by Alibaba merchants to pad their sales and thereby boost their standing on the company's marketplaces.
- Merchants pay "brushers" to place orders, and then ship them boxes that are empty or full of worthless items. A November column from China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency estimated 17% of sellers (1.2M) on Alibaba's Taobao site (focused on smaller merchants) had faked RMB10B ($1.6B) worth of transactions in 2013.
- Alibaba says it punishes sellers found to be faking transactions, and analyzes IP and mailing address data to spot anomalies. Chinese regulator SAIC recently issued a report criticizing Alibaba for fake goods listings and other illegal business done on its sites, but backtracked after Alibaba blasted the report.
- The Chinese e-commerce giant now trades for 28x estimated FY16 (ends March '16) EPS. The FY16 revenue growth consensus is at 36%.
- Update: Bloomberg suggests JD.com's strong Q4 numbers could be fueling concerns Alibaba is losing share. JD's GMV rose 119% Y/Y in calendar Q4 to $13.8B; Alibaba's rose 49% to $125.9B.
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
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