Yahoo shows signs of life, Alibaba in the cards again

Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:49pm EDT
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc reported an uptick in revenue that marked its first quarterly sales growth in three years, as new Chief Executive Scott Thompson outlined his plan to revamp the struggling Web company.

Citing moves to shut down dozens of underperforming online properties, while making online commerce and mobile products a bigger part of Yahoo's business, Thompson described "the first steps" to regain market share from online rivals and revive the company's growth.

"I'm convinced that we don't need to reinvent who we are," Thompson said during a conference call with analysts on Tuesday. "But I'm equally convinced we absolutely do need to reinvent the experiences our users have with the marquee properties that bring them to Yahoo every day."

Thompson also said that Yahoo was once more exploring ways to "monetize" some of its stake in China's Alibaba Group.

Shares of Yahoo increased 2.7 percent to $15.41 in after hours trading on Tuesday.

The comments marked the most extensive details Thompson has provided about his strategy since taking the top job at Yahoo in January.

But the former PayPal president faces a high wall of skepticism from investors who have watched several failed attempts to restructure and revitalize the one-time Web pioneer in recent years. Carol Bartz, Thompson's immediate predecessor, was fired over the phone in September.

"I didn't hear anything particularly aggressive or transformative in what he said," said Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter.   Continued...

Yahoo Inc. offices, housing its Search Marketing Group, are pictured in Burbank, California, in this October 14, 2010 file photograph. Yahoo Inc said it earned net income of $286 million, or 23 cents a share, in the first quarter. The Internet company reported net revenue, which excludes fees paid to partners, of $1.077 billion, compared to $1.064 billion in the year-ago period. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files