Yahoo Seeks Quick Sale Of Non-Core Assets

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Restructuring includes potential sale of $1bn to $3bn worth of assets, Chief Financial Officer confirms

Yahoo’s future structure remains fluid after its Chief Financial Officer confirmed it is exploring a sale of $1 – 3 billion (£705.8m to £2.1bn) of worth of patents, property and other “non-core assets.”

Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman was quoted by Reuters as making the comments whilst speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.

Strategic Alternatives

marissa mayer yahoo ceo ces 2014Goldman confirmed a committee had been formed to explore alternatives to the company’s plan to spin off its core business and Yahoo is looking at quick sales of assets.

He reportedly said patents, land, property and “non-core units or businesses” are all on the table for potential sale. Yahoo has apparently sold or licensed more than $600 million in patents over the last three years.

Last month Yahoo confirmed it was letting go 15 percent of its workforce as boss Marissa Mayer looks to implement an “aggressive strategic plan” for growth. By the end of the year the company expects to only have around 9,000 employees.

Those layoffs will result in savings of $400 million (£292m) annually, and the firm is also preparing to close five offices around the world, including Dubai, Madrid, and Milan.

Yahoo has been looking at its strategic options for a while now. It has been facing significant shareholder pressure from the likes of Canyon Capital Advisors and Mason Capital.

At one stage it was considering offloading its core Internet business. But Yahoo has reportedly turned away several potential buyers of this core unit.

And last December Yahoo also announced it would not be spinning off its its $30bn stake in Alibaba. According to Yahoo’s board of directors, that decision came after consideration of how to best drive long-term value for its shareholders.

Asset Sell-Off

But it should be noted that Yahoo has been offloading assets for a some time.

It has closed some of its regional, genre-specific media properties for example. Items closed down includes Yahoo Music in France and Canada as well as Yahoo Movies in Spain. The Yahoo Philippines homepage and genre-specific media sites have also been axed, and instead redirected to the Yahoo Singapore homepage.

In addition, Yahoo TV in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada as well as Yahoo Autos in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy have also been closed down. It has also closed down Yahoo Entertainment.

Marissa Mayer has a track record of closing down products over the years. In 2013 for example, the company closed the pioneering search engine AltaVista, as well as the browser plug-in Axis.

Prior to that it also closed its Chinese Yahoo Mail service, its events planner (Yahoo Upcoming), and its Groupon-rival (Yahoo Deals). Other closures include Yahoo’s SMS alerts service and Yahoo Kids.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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