Featured StoryThe black cloud following Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) seems bigger than ever.
Just one day after he was forced to leave the forlorn Internet company for padding his resume, reports surfaced that ex-Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson revealed he has cancer.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, Thompson told Yahoo's board and several colleagues of his thyroid cancer before resigning Sunday.
A source told The Journal that Thompson's decision to leave his position at Yahoo was in part influenced by his cancer diagnosis.
News broke last week that Thompson embellished his resume with a degree in computer science, when he actually earned a degree in accounting from a small Massachusetts college.
Thompson was hired in January to replace Carol Bartz, who was fired by phone last September.
In the revolving position at Yahoo, former head of global media Ross Levinsohn has been named interim CEO.
New CEO Boosts YHOOLevinsohn had a triumphant stretch running Internet services within Rupert Murdoch's media empire at News Corp. before Bartz lured him to Yahoo in 2010. Levinsohn previously ran ad sales for Yahoo's Americas unit.
Yahoo investors applauded the media veteran's appointment. Yahoo shares tacked on 2.2% in premarket trading Monday ahead of a nasty open for U.S. markets.
Levinsohn has significant credentials as a negotiator. Before coming aboard at Yahoo, he had a history of recognizing and acquiring an assortment of digital media companies around the globe. That is a striking comparison to Yahoo's last two CEOs, who had stronger backgrounds in technology than media.
"We view Mr. Levinsohn as well-equipped to lead the organization and to build off the company's core strengths - advertising products and digital media," said Spencer Wang, an analyst with Credit Suisse.
But Yahoo still faces a rocky road ahead.
Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO)
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Stocks tumbled Wednesday due to investor unease, and contributed to slips in tech stocks including SanDisk Corp. (Nasdaq: SNDK), Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).
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Three Reasons Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) Could Rally Without Co-Founder Jerry Yang
Seventeen years after starting one of the first Internet content companies, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) co-founder Jerry Yang resigned yesterday (Tuesday) - giving Yahoo a fighting chance of rising from its dismal decline in the tech world.
The departure of co-founder Yang, who also served as CEO from June 2007 to January 2009, marks the latest casualty as Yahoo strives to compete against more modern tech companies. Yahoo two weeks ago announced it had chosen a new chief executive officer - Scott Thompson, most recently president of eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY).
Shareholders have been pushing for Yang's exit as search leader Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and social media giant Facebook Inc. have dominated markets in which Yahoo failed to gain traction.
Still, Yang's decision was a surprise because of his deep personal attachment to the company.
"Jerry's thrown in the towel," Colin Gillis, a BGC Partners analyst, told Bloomberg News. "He founded the company - this is his baby."
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The One Thing New Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson Needs to Do
Four months after chief executive Carol Bartz was let go, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) appointed new CEO Scott Thompson to salvage the sinking Internet company and do something Bartz couldn't - win shareholder support.
Yahoo announced yesterday (Wednesday) that Thompson, most recently president of eBay Inc.'s (Nasdaq: EBAY) PayPal unit, is taking over the lead role. Yahoo is in dire need of new strategies to increase site traffic and attract advertisers if it hopes to defend against increasing competition from tech giants Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Facebook Inc.
Shareholders were frustrated with the decision, however, since they were pushing for the struggling Yahoo to sell.
"It's probably a slight negative because I think the best outcome for Yahoo would be an all out takeover by Microsoft," Brett Harriss, an analyst at Gabelli & Co., told Bloomberg News. "Hiring a new CEO makes the sale of the whole company unlikely."
Thompson is the company's fourth CEO in five years. Now the pressure's on him to win over shareholders and inspire investor confidence before the share price plunges.
New Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson a "Surprising Choice"
Thompson excelled at PayPal, contributing to its expansion into online daily deals and mobile payments and increasing PayPal users to more than 100 million.
However, he has no experience with content - Yahoo's bread and butter. Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock said Thompson's primary focus will have to be on the company's "core business" - providing content in subcategories like news, sports, and finance.
"It's a surprising choice," Ken Sena, an analyst at Evercore Partners Inc. (NYSE: EVR), told Bloomberg. "Scott has a great track record in payments and has proven an effective executive at PayPal and has major tech chops and international experience, but as a content company, which Yahoo has increasingly become, his experience is kind of lacking."
Thompson told investors he wanted to explore Yahoo's options in the mobile sector. He'll also help the company realize more value from its minority investments in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China's biggest e-commerce company in which it has a 40% stake worth $14 billion, and Yahoo Japan Corp., or decide if it's best to sell those assets. A sale would appease shareholders while the company regroups under Thompson's leadership.
"If they can successfully complete the Asian asset transactions, in a way that is beneficial to Yahoo shareholders, I think it will buy them some time and they'll have a chance to build for growth," Ryan Jacob, of the Jacob Funds, told Reuters.
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