Yahoo to lay off 2,000 employees

Wed Apr 4, 2012 6:28pm EDT
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By Alexei Oreskovic and Sarah McBride

(Reuters) - Yahoo Inc will lay off 2,000 people, or 14 percent of its workforce, in its deepest round of job cuts in years as new Chief Executive Scott Thompson tries to jumpstart growth with a leaner, more agile company while saving hundreds of millions of dollars.

Wall Street's reaction was lukewarm, after two previous Yahoo CEOs failed to find an answer to rivals like Web-search leader Google and the Facebook social-networking site.

Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, which ended 2011 with some 14,000 employees, said it would save $375 million annually from the cuts and incur a pre-tax cash charge in the second quarter of $125 million to $145 million.

The company declined to comment on severance details.

Some analysts were skeptical about the widely expected layoffs, which weren't accompanied by details of Yahoo's broader plan to revamp its business.

"You can't cut your way to revenue growth," said Colin Gillis of BGC Partners. "What people want to see out of Yahoo is ... a plan and provision for revenue growth."

Third Point, an activist hedge fund that is waging a proxy fight to install a slate of handpicked directors on Yahoo's board, described the layoffs as "necessary."

But the hedge fund, Yahoo's largest shareholder with a 5.8 percent stake, said in a statement that it was "disappointed that this round of cuts occurred before CEO Scott Thompson has articulated his strategic plan for the company."   Continued...

A Yahoo! signs sits out front of their headquarters in Sunnyvale, California in this February 1, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Kimberly White/Files