Yahoo names former PayPal head as new CEO

Josh Brown Jan 4, 2012

Stacey Vanek Smith: Yahoo has a new CEO — Scott Thompson — current head of eBay’s online payment system, PayPal. Thompson replaces Carol Bartz, who was fired from Yahoo in September. Since then, the troubled internet giant has been looking into selling itself or parts of itself.

Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics joins us live to talk Yahoo. Good morning, Josh.

Josh Brown: Good morning.

Smith: Josh, 2011w was not a great year for Yahoo. What difference can a new CEO make?

Brown: You know, I think in the very short-term, probably very little. In fact, if you look at the market’s reaction to the news this morning of the new CEO appointment, the stock is down about a half a dollar. I don’t think there’s a ton of excitement for the short-term.

Smith: Now, as I just mentioned, Yahoo has been taking action to sell itself — or at least parts of itself. Do you see that still happening?

Brown: I think the discussions to sell the Asian assets of the company — which are a big stake in Yahoo Japan, as well as a big stake in Alibaba, which owns the “Amazon” of China — I think those will still be ongoing. And the playbook looks like Yahoo will take in a big amount of capital, and they want to be ready with a strategy guy in place who can actually plan and make things happen with that capital infusion. I think what Yahoo really wants to focus on now is truly becoming more useful to the average person, and to get a little bit more aggressive in things like social media.

Smith: Speaking of Yahoo’s Asian assets, let’s talk a little bit about the company itself. What does it have going for it and what are some of the obstacles it’s looking at?

Brown: So they have a few billion dollars worth of properties in Asia. The problem has been that Yahoo and its partners, Softbank of Japan, along with Alibaba itself, have not been cordial. There have been a lot of disagreements over strategy and valuation.

So if Yahoo can disentangle itself from these Asia assets and get this pile of cash to work with, having a CEO that’s a true Internet geek, which clearly is what this gentleman is — he’s not from the content world, he’s from the technology world. So it’s a lot more of an interesting course of action for the board to have taken, rather than just bringing in another content person, which clearly hasn’t worked in the past.

Smith: Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics. Thank you, Josh!

Brown: Thank you.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.