Today is supposed to be the final day of bidding for Yahoo’s core business. It also happens to be the day the beleaguered tech giant will report its earnings for the second quarter.
The coinciding of these two events could very well mean that, after US markets close this afternoon, Yahoo will finally give shareholders some certainty of the company’s future, which has been a quandary the last year and a half as it abandoned a plan to spin off its stake in Alibaba and decided to look into selling its core business instead.
But if the recent past is any indication, Yahoo will likely remain quiet until everything’s locked up. The New York Times reports that Yahoo’s board is “set to make a decision soon” after the last bids come in, but it’s unclear if that will happen by the afternoon.
Since Yahoo announced it was exploring “strategic alternatives” in February, CEO Marissa Mayer has avoided publicly answering any questions in order to “preserve the value and integrity of the process,” as she said during the company’s last earnings call in April. Two weeks ago, she started off her remarks at Yahoo’s annual shareholder meeting by saying: “First of all, we have no announcements today.”
Currently, the most likely buyers appear to be Verizon, AT&T, Softbank, Quicken Loans cofounder Dan Gilbert backed by Berkshire Hathaway, and some private equity firms.
The sale process, though, recently got very complicated. According to a report from Recode this month, the terms of Yahoo’s 2014 deal with Mozilla included a stipulation for its sale. In such an event, the terms said Mozilla could terminate the agreement and demand a billion-dollar payout.
And that’s just one deal. Yahoo also has major partnerships with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo Japan. It’s possible these other deals might also carry unexpected costs in the event of a sale.
All this remains to be seen. What investors can more likely expect this afternoon is another quarter of disappointing results (for anyone still paying attention to its financial performance). This month, two firms—Pivotal Research Group and Suntrust Robinson Humphrey—downgraded the stock, according to FactSet. Overall, analysts are expecting earnings of 10 cents per share, down nearly 40% from a year-ago period, on revenue of $840 million, a decline of 20% year-over-year.