Yahoo: Now It's the CFO Who's Being Shown the Door

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Includes: AABA, MSFT
by: The Deal Economy

We had just finished writing a post about how annoying it was that Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen was continuing the coy cat-and-mouse game with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) by saying the company "wasn't opposed" to some sort of search deal with its rival, when an SEC filing landed in our inbox telling us that Jorgensen "will be leaving the company."

While there were reports that new CEO Carol Bartz was planning some significant management changes, we can't help but wonder if Jorgensen's departure has anything to do with his comments Wednesday, in which he told a Goldman Sachs & Co. confab that some kind of search advertising deal was still possible with Microsoft. The comments followed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's words earlier this week that his company too was open to such a pact.

We were hoping that Bartz's arrival would stop all this back-and-forth. After all, Bartz's comments at her first quarterly conference call last month made us feel pretty confident that the goofy trial balloons were done with. Maybe the reports earlier in the week that Gerald Horkan, Yahoo's senior vice president of corporate strategy, had left the company bolstered the notion that the company won't be focused on striking big deals for some time.

Jorgensen did echo Bartz's conference call comment about search being complex and intertwined with so many other Yahoo businesses. But did his words Wednesday about a potential deal displease his new boss? Yahoo said it has initiated a search for a new CFO and that Jorgensen will remain with the company through a transition period.

Yahoo shares climbed 5%, to $13.09, in morning trading Thursday. - Olaf de Senerpont Domis

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