Yahoo reports another big loss and Tumblr write-down

Yahoo, which began soliciting sale bids five months ago, says its loss in the April to June quarter widened to $440 million.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Yahoo's latest earnings report leaves no doubt the internet company is stuck in a downward spiral.

The company managed to beat Wall Street's limited expectations for revenue in the April to June quarter.

But after subtracting commissions paid to its partners, Yahoo said its revenue fell 19 percent from a year earlier, while its loss widened to $440 million from last year's $22 million.

The company reported $1.3 billion in GAAP revenue for the second quarter compared to $1.24 billion for the same period last year, however, the cost of revenue more than doubled from $200 million last year to $466 million this year.

Yahoo also reported that it's writing down $482 million in charges related to the declining value of Tumblr, the social-blogging service that Yahoo acquired for $1.1 billion in 2013.

Combined with an earlier write-down of $230 million, that indicates Tumblr's value has plunged by almost two-thirds.

"During the second quarter of 2016, we determined that there were indicators present to suggest that it is more likely than not that the fair value of the Tumblr reporting unit is less than its carrying amount," the company said.

"The goodwill and intangibles impairment charges resulted from a combination of factors, including decreases in our projected Tumblr operating results and estimated future cash flows."

Yahoo has a mixed history with purchasing hot internet properties, with its $3.56 billion purchase of Geocities in 1999 ending with it shutting down, and social bookmarking site Delicious eventually leaving Yahoo to land in the hands of YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.

What remains unclear is whether Yahoo will abort its long-running turnaround attempts and sell its operations in a move that would likely end the four-year reign of chief executive Marissa Mayer.

Mayer said earlier this year the company had a three-year turnaround plan in place.

Last quarter the company said it would cut 15 percent of its workforce, leaving it with a headcount 42 percent lower than in 2012, and expected to return to growth in 2017 and 2018.

The Yahoo CEO had little to say about a possible sale on Monday, as she released the latest in a succession of dismal earnings reports. She told investors the company is carefully evaluating bids but added: "We have no announcement today."

The company began soliciting bids five months ago.

A decision may come soon, though. Monday was the deadline for final offers.

The list of prospective buyers includes two telecommunications providers, Verizon Communications and AT&T, which are hoping to broaden their array of digital services.

Also in the running is a group led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert with the backing of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Several private equity firms that specialise in buying troubled companies are also believed to be in the running.

Analysts have estimated Yahoo will fetch $4 billion to $8 billion for a line-up that includes its email service and popular sections devoted to news, sports, and finance. Most analysts expect the offers to come in the middle of the projected range.

If Yahoo jettisons its struggling internet operations, it will still retain prized stakes in Yahoo Japan and Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group. Yahoo's investment in Alibaba alone is currently worth $32 billion, before taxes.

In order to make itself more attractive for a buyer, Yahoo is auctioning off 3,000 of its patents that cover search, online commerce, and advertising.

Yahoo's email service was blacklisted by the US House of Representatives earlier this year, due to a surge in ransomware.

With AAP

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