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Yahoo will deliver the most important earnings of Marissa Mayer’s career today

Marissa Mayer Yahoo Alibaba IPO
Reuters/Denis Balibouse
Time to deliver.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s make or break time.

When Yahoo reports its earnings after the US market closes today (Feb. 2), investors are going to want clarity around its future.

The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports the Sunnyvale, California company plans to slash its workforce by 15% and shutter some of its business units. Though the cost cutting will please shareholders, Yahoo still has a long way to go to turn around its ailing business. In the last year, investors have grown impatient and disappointed by the lack of value Yahoo has returned to them. The company’s stock ended 2015 down 34%.

Shareholders were initially excited by CEO Marissa Mayer’s plans to spin off the company’s 15% stake in Alibaba, but their enthusiasm turned into anxiety when it became unclear if the deal would go through tax free.

That led Yahoo to instead undertake a complicated reverse spinoff. The plan is to keep its 384 million shares of Alibaba while spinning off everything else, namely its core business and stake in Yahoo Japan. Though Yahoo committed publicly to this path in December—warning investors the process could take “a year or more to conclude”—that hasn’t stopped it from exploring an outright sale or for investors to threaten a proxy battle.

All this back and forth has sent a message to investors: Yahoo has no clue what it’s going to do. Shareholders are hoping to learn this afternoon that’s still not the case.

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