Carol Bartz has been gone from Yahoo for nearly two months and there has been spotty news on management other than Timothy Morse being named interim CEO and Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo remaining ‘chief Yahoos’. Wednesday of this week David Kenny resigned as president and director of Akamai Technologies. Mr. Kenny is already on the board of Yahoo and there is speculation that he could possibly be the next chief executive.
This all comes as a backdrop as Yahoo appears to be both on and off the market. Last week Jerry Yang Yahoo.com co-founder and former CEO Jerry Yang said that while Yahoo’s board is famously exploring all its options, it’s not necessarily up for sale. “The intent going in is not to put ourselves up for sale. The intent is to look at all the options,” Yang said on stage at the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong. http://bit.ly/vGcKmQ
There are apparently many potential suitors interested in Yahoo and Yahoo’s still impressive reach. The list moves from AOL’s Tim Armstrong, to Microsoft, to Jack Ma of Alibaba.com (Yahoo owns 40% of Alibaba.com, a stake that Jack Ma had been trying to buy back from Ms. Bartz before her departure).
The real question many people (including me) are asking is, (despite what Mr. Yang is saying) does Yahoo have an independent future? Or will it need to be part of another company’s platform? In the case of Microsoft (think Bing) – Yahoo and Bing would together comprise nearly 35% of the search market (the balance is nearly all Google) and would be a formidable player in the search marketplace. I don’t see as good a fit with AOL (two somewhat tried and tired brands) or Alibaba.com but they have their reasons for wanting a piece of more than 100 million Yahoo unique monthly users (includes email).
Right now the valuation to buy Yahoo is as much as US $20 billion. The three leaders as noted above all have the wherewithal to make it happen. And of course Mr. Yang is a potential buyer himself.
How will this play out?