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End of romance with Yahoo CEO Bartz
|30 июля 2009|
Carol Bartz’s six-month honeymoon with Yahoo investors ended acrimoniously on Wednesday after she announced a scaled-down search partnership with Microsoft.
The market sent Yahoo shares down 12 per cent as stockholders complained that the most-visited collection of pages on the internet had sold the right to control its technological destiny for far too little.
“Microsoft was willing to pay a whole bunch last summer, and Carol said she needed ‘boatloads of cash,’” one large shareholder said. “People feel misled.”
Instead of the $500m to $1bn in extra annual cash flow that many expected, Yahoo’s chief executive projected just $275m, with no upfront lump sum.
The resentment is typical for bullish investors who usually see more potential than gets delivered. A year ago, the same people were angry that Yahoo’s then-leaders were holding out for too much.
Ms Bartz said in an interview that traders might have been misled in the past by inaccurate information that leaked.
But the shock also reflects investors’ concerns that either Ms Bartz is not the hard-nosed pragmatist they took her for, or that Yahoo itself is in worse straits than they realised.
Since she was installed from outside the company as chief executive in January, Ms Bartz had impressed Wall Street, her board of directors and many of her roughly 13,000 employees.
She provided a sharp contrast with Jerry Yang, the likeable but indecisive Yahoo founder who had returned as chief executive and rejected a much richer Microsoft offer to buy Yahoo outright.
Ms Bartz thought good management could fix much of what ailed Yahoo. When she arrived, the management structure was incoherent, the company was carved up in to fiefdoms, and it had a bad habit of missing earnings projections as it lost more and more ground to search kingpin Google.
Ms Bartz continued the cost-cutting already under way but declared the company was at its heart an internet destination that would provide more to users and that advertisers would follow.
That clearer mission helped resolve some of Yahoo’s identity crisis, and the deal to outsource search technology to Microsoft has cemented that shift. Yahoo is now a media company, not a technology company.
Ms Bartz told the Financial Times that she was driven to strike the Microsoft bargain by the same sort of dispassionate analysis that went into her less momentous decisions.
Investors said they had a bigger problem with the small amount of money she reached in the deal than with her long-term vision for the company.
Now they are hoping that she was clever enough to low-ball the expected savings from the Microsoft deal, setting the company up to beat profit targets and boost the stock price for years to come.
Источник: Financial Times