Yahoo’s stock sinks to a new low with investors still anxious over its future

Lousy start to the year.
Lousy start to the year.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

That was it?

Investors were expecting clarity into Yahoo’s plans when the company reported its fourth quarter earnings Tuesday (Feb. 2). But they walked away with more questions than answers.

Though Yahoo attempted to placate frustrated shareholders with $400 million of cost cutting—including laying off 15% of its staff and closing down five offices—the company’s stock touched $26.57, a 52-week low, earlier today, before closing down roughly 5% at $27.68.

In Yahoo’s earnings call, CEO Marissa Mayer reaffirmed the company’s plan to undertake a complicated reverse spinoff—in which it keeps its 15% stake in Alibaba and spins off its core business and stake in Yahoo Japan—while “exploring additional strategic alternatives in parallel to the execution of our plan.”

In other words: Everything—including a possible sale—remains on the table.

Appearing on CNBC today, Mayer continued to sidestep questions about a potential sale—the very thing investors are most curious about. “We won’t be commenting on the exploration of strategic alternatives until we reached an option that we’ve agreed on,” she said.

With all this uncertainty, Yahoo investors remain restless. “We don’t think there is anything in the announced restructuring and potential non core asset sales that will mollify activist investors,” Barclay’s Paul Vogel said in a note sent to investors Feb. 3.

In a statement provided to Quartz, SpringOwl Asset Management, an activist investor that’s called for Mayer’s firing and threatened to wage a proxy battle, said it will “continu[e] to push for moves that will fundamentally turn the company around and result in a higher stock price and value creation for all shareholders.”

But Yahoo is running out of time to prove itself, having already wasted a year on a failed plan to spin off its Alibaba stake. “We emphasize that timeliness is instrumental, as the new focused growth strategy is not certain to work, given past turnaround failures,” said Robert Peck, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.