Yahoo (YHOO) posted second-quarter earnings recently that were lifted by its stake in Chinese e-commerce and Internet giant Alibaba Group. But beyond that, the balance sheet was riddled with the same problems as always — no long-term vision, a reduced forecast for revenue and profit, and declines in ad rates thanks to a move to mobile.
Former Google (GOOG) exec Marissa Mayer has tried to turn around the struggling portal business of Yahoo as CEO, focusing on content, spending on acquisitions like the $1.1 billion Tumblr buyout. But beyond Alibaba, there’s not a lot going for YHOO since she took over.
Mobile is incredibly competitive, and the declining portal model in favor of social media outlets like Facebook (FB) means Yahoo has to swim upstream to grow traffic. Furthermore, online advertising margins continue to shrink, creating an ugly one-two punch.
Throw in the ill-timed $1.16 billion repurchase of a Third Point stake while the stock is bumping up against 52-week highs, and you have to wonder why the stock is up 38% year-to-date.
Sure, Alibaba could hold a rousing IPO that generates a huge pop for Yahoo shares down the road … but simply holding out hope for that isn’t much of a long-term plan. And in the meantime, we could see plenty of ugly headlines that hold Yahoo back.