Yahoo! comeback! continues! as! fresh! listing! planned!
Boss says it has traffic galore and a beautiful balance sheet
Yahoo! – the outfit that dominated the web in the late 1990s before Google ate its lunch – is plotting a return to the stock market.
The Purple Palace's CEO, Jim Lanzone, on Tuesday told the Financial Times that Yahoo! is "very profitable" and has "a great balance sheet."
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Lanzone acknowledged that the erstwhile titan has struggled, but pointed out it remains either the top or second-ranked destination for topics such as finance, sports, and news.
He added: "While the company has had struggles in different points in time, we're still huge in traffic, and we have our best days ahead of us product wise."
Lanzone doesn't just plan a return to the stock market – he also wants Yahoo! to start buying more properties.
"We'll be aggressive at looking at those," he told the FT.
If Yahoo! does indeed return to public ownership it will represent a remarkable comeback.
The outfit rose to prominence in the late 1990s by evolving its search engine into a "portal" that put news, stock information, weather, and more info onto a customizable home page, and made search-only offerings like AltaVista look clunky.
Yahoo! search was also superior to rivals. Once it developed targeted ads linked to search activity, the biz built an economic engine.
Google built the same machine, and ironically challenged Yahoo! by offering a cleaner home page.
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Yahoo declined, then struggled – yet in the early 2010s still had billions of users on its books.
Google exec Melissa Mayer became CEO in 2012 and struggled to turn the outfit around. In 2016, US telco Verizon acquired the business for $4.8 billion and bundled it into an outfit called "Oath" that it sold for $5 billion in 2021.
Now Lanzone thinks Yahoo! is ready to stand on its own feet, again.
Exclusive chats with prominent financial press can sometimes be used to seed the idea of a transaction in the markets, to test reactions. The FT piece doesn't discuss financials, nor a timeframe for a return to listing. So it's hard to know when investors will be courted – or what they'll be offered if it does eventuate. ®