How to Profit From The Chief Yahoo's Departure
Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) co-founder Jerry Yang is leaving the struggling Internet search company he has been with since 1995. California-based Yahoo! made the announcement today after the close of U.S. markets.
In a letter to the Yahoo! Board Chairman Roy Bostock, Yang wrote: “My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo! As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future.”
Yang will no longer serve on the board of Yahoo!, Yahoo Japan or Alibaba Group. The departure caps a tumultuous several years that saw Yang bungle a possible takeover by Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and take the roll of "Chief Yahoo!" to make room for the now departed Carol Bartz as CEO all while loosing ground to rival Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).
Investors seem to like the news of Yang's departure as shares of Yahoo! are up almost 4% in the after-hours session. Consider the following trades as ways to profit from the end Yang's time at Yahoo!.
Yahoo! Might as well be involved with the stock directly, right? Scott Thompson could get the company going in the right direction or Yang's departure could make it easier for Thompson to just sell the company outright. A Yahoo! takeover has been a favorite Wall Street rumor for several years now and maybe, just maybe the time is right for it to come to fruition.
First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (NYSE: FDN) The First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund is one of the ETFs where Yahoo! has a noteworthy presence and while news of Yang's swan song is likely to have only a minimal impact on FDN, an outright takeover of Yahoo! could equal a nice short-term bounce for the ETF. That takeover could help FDN crack resistance at $34.
Microsoft This could be the opening that Mr. Softee has been looking for to get back in the Yahoo! takeover sweepstakes. Admittedly, that's pure speculation at this point. For all anyone knows, the world's largest software maker may have no desire to be in the Yahoo! business any longer, regardless of who sits on the board.
Google The largest U.S. Internet search provider has been eating Yahoo!'s lunch for years so acquiring it's smaller rival may be more ego stroking than anything else, but in October, the Wall Street Journal reported Google had talked with some private equity firms about making a move on Yahoo!.
AOL (NYSE: AOL) In a crazy world, or a perfect world for AOL, Yang's departure could throw Yahoo! into a tailspin and open the door for AOL to pilfer market share from Yahoo!. Or maybe AOL could make a move on Yahoo!. Anything is possible, but those scenarios are stretches.
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