Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been under increasing pressure to get some growth going at the venerable and seemingly constantly troubled Internet pioneer, and it’s not like the company hasn’t tried just about everything. Almost everything.
Yahoo’s board is meeting this week amid rumors it might put its core internet business up for sale. So why’d anyone want to buy?
In the plus column for Yahoo there’s traffic, traffic and more traffic. 210 million people visited Yahoo sites in October, according to comScore, making it the third most popular website in the country.
The company still turns a profit, but the long promised turnaround hasn’t come.
“Someone else may have an idea that figures out how to build a profitable business, and build a growing business off of it,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research.
A media or telecom company might be interested in buying Yahoo to extend its own reach, to distribute its content to more people. The Wall Street Journal is dropping names like Verizon and News Corp. Analysts have also mentioned Comcast and Amazon as potential suitors.
“I think the issue for the investors and Wall Street is growth,” said Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land. He said a buyer that’s less focused on Yahoo’s growth might make for a good fit.
Maybe also a buyer that’s not as focused on Yahoo’s fading brand.
“Yahoo was one of the original internet companies, it was enormously powerful and successful for a long time,” Sterling said. “And then it got superseded by some of the new players.”
Yahoo has tried to catch up: it bought Tumblr, it got into original programming — and lost tens of millions of dollars in the process.
In the words of Yogi Berra, what we might have here is an “insurmountable opportunity.”
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