I just read about yahoo's supposed leak. Apparently Yahoo is giving up on Microsoft, is in talks to acquire AOL and wants to test google adsence on its network. Now I can understand that with Yahoo's traffic, google adsense would seem like a viable option, but isn't their market portal and search based ads?!?!?! This would be akin to starbucks saying they wanted to start selling dunkin donuts coffee. This sounds like desperation to me.
And merging with AOL? The blog post says it best.
"But rather than a synergistic powerhouse, a merger of these companies is more like two louts coming together to make one cretin."
Perhaps Yahoo is not really examining its books closely enough when it says that it is being undervalued by microsoft, so I thought I would lay it out a little more clearly. Yahoo, if you are listening please take note.
Yahoos stock price steadily declined and was probably well on its way to obscurity until microsoft entered the arena a potential buyer in Feb of 08. What was the reason for the drop, well take a look at the fundamentals.
- At the end of the day Yahoo brough home earnigns 849m in 2007 on 6.9B in revenue. For an internet company that should be running on a 30-40% margin, Yahoo's 12% doesn't quite cut it. This means that their operation is bloated and inefficient.
- Compared to its peers in search Yahoo's earnings per share and EBIT growth are anemic. Both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Ask.com parent IAC (Nasdaq: IACI) are growing their online advertising much faster than Yahoo.
- Yahoo's platform is outdated. The idea of a single closed portal that doesn't tie into the rest of the social graph is past its prime.
Then in february came the offer from microsoft and Yahoo's P/E shot through the roof. This morning it is 60x, almost double that of google at 35x.
What yahoo fails to realize when it claims it is undervalued is that most of its value comes from the potential of being bough out by microsoft. Once this possibility dissapears, I feel that a market will be a cruel place for Mr. Yang and his cohorts.
And if they are looking for AOL to save them...OY! That is another bowl of mess.