Thursday, February 3, 2011

Higher income but tepid growth at Yahoo

Carol a. Bartz, who joined Yahoo as chief executive two years ago, has sought to revive growth after several years of slow results and an inability to capitalize on the rise of social networking, now dominated by Facebook.

She has cut costs, largely through a series of layoffs, while Google, for example, added employees. She has been outsourcing plans to eliminate unsuccessful products, including the Delicious bookmarking service and services.

His strategy was to concentrate on the strengths of Yahoo, which include editorial content, display advertising and online communications such as e-mail. Still says that it will take time before Yahoo shows signs of great progress. The earnings report seemed to support this point of view.

Display advertising banner and other ads — graphics — was a bright spot. But a first quarter revenue forecast that was below expectations sent shares down in business analysts to appreciate.

Yahoo reported that net income in the fourth quarter, which ended in December, doubled to $ 312 million, or 24 cents a share compared with the year-ago quarter.

The company said revenue fell 12 percent to $ 1.53 billion. Practically all the decline came from the sale of the career site Listings and changes to Yahoo's search activity.

Income was slightly above the correct income of 26 cents a share, beating the 22 cents a share that was expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Excluding payments to advertising partners, revenue was 1.21 billion, or modestly more than 1.19 billion that analysts had expected.

Display advertising increased 14 percent to $ 635 million.

In a conference call with analysts after the report was published, Yahoo executives repeatedly to what is described as positive momentum of the company and talked about their trust that Yahoo will turn corner in several important areas during the second half of this year. Stressed the earnings growth and cast of the decreasing revenue as a natural consequence of their strategy.

"We have just completed a quarter and the year very encouraging for Yahoo," MS. Bartz said in the call. She went on to say that "we're making progress evident on our plan."

The estimated revenue for the first quarter was $ 1.02 billion to $ 1.08 billion, compared to analysts ' expectations of 1.13 billion. In the market appreciates, shares dropped by more than 2 percent, to $ 15.64.

Youssef h. Sharks, an analyst at Jefferies & co., said that he was still waiting for Yahoo to show some signs of progress. Cutting costs is well said, but what investors really want is for society to restore growth, and that management will be intense pressure to do so this year, they have promised.

"Growth, is a show-me story," said Mr. sharks. "The jury is still out on this."

As a sign of cost reduction of MS. Bartz, Yahoo, which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, said Tuesday that would have eliminated 1 percent of its workforce, or approximately 140 jobs, especially in marketing. Following cuts last month another 600 jobs, most of them within the product group.

Yahoo layoffs contrast sharply with Google, which said Tuesday that it would add more than 6,000 employees this year. Although Yahoo said it will continue to hire in some areas, it is surprising disconnect between companies and their trajectories.

Not only is Google taking, is growing rapidly, reporting a rise of 26% in fourth quarter revenue last week.

Yahoo has bet a large portion of its revival on its research in partnership with Microsoft, which has taken over its search engine and associated advertising in North America. The switch in Europe and Asia will take place this year.

But MS. Bartz suggested that there are still problems to be worked out in terms of financial benefits of the partnership research. Important measurements of its financial performance, including revenue on research, have been less than what was hoped for during the quarter, although he expressed confidence in an improvement in the second half of the year.

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