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Marissa Mayer: Activist Campaigns Eroded 'Tens Of Billions Of Dollars Of Upside' At Yahoo

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Marissa Mayer: Activist Campaigns Eroded 'Tens Of Billions Of Dollars Of Upside' At Yahoo

Back in 2012, activist investors Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb pressured Yahoo to sell half its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA). While meant to unlock shareholder value, the campaigns ultimately stunted continued returns.

Former CEO Marissa Mayer, who inherited Yahoo shortly after the sale was arranged, said she considers the deal “tragic” and “myopic.”

It ended up “eroding tens of billions of dollars of upside,” Mayer told the New York Times. “So certainly that was not positive. Sometimes that shortsightedness of wanting to get a return quickly can cause you to miss a much bigger gain.”

Within five years, Yahoo sold to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which grouped the assets into its Oath subsidiary. Although the outcome was not ideal, Mayer expressed pride in the company’s achievements.

“We got great results for shareholders, we got great results for advertisers and our users and our employees,” she said. “And so I feel really good about that, but obviously the absolute home run would have been a standalone company and then a complete comeback.”

Of course, the activist campaigns weren’t entirely to blame for Yahoo’s eventual collapse. Mayer had been “dealt a very tough hand” with a struggling core business, she said. 

Yahoo had become an anachronism, with products not as contextually relevant as they had been in the early 2000s, and Mayer could not return the site to the center of America’s e-life.

“All we really managed to do was offset the declines,” Mayer said about the “decaying legacy business.”

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Posted-In: Carl Icahn Dan Loeb Marissa Mayer Oath The New York Times YahooMedia Best of Benzinga

 

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