Wednesday 25 April 2018

Yahoo! chief Marissa Mayer insists no 'giant pivot' needed to revive company

Yahoo's chief executive Marissa Mayer
Yahoo's chief executive Marissa Mayer

Yahoo!'s new chief executive Marissa Mayer has insisted the company can be revived by improving its search, news and email services, as she dismissed the need for a "giant pivot".

In her first conference call with Wall Street analysts since taking the top job in August, the 37-year old said that "I don't think this is a situation in which there's a giant pivot and we go into a completely different business."

Instead, Ms Mayer, said advertising revenues can be significantly raised by sharpening the way it does the basics that made Yahoo! one of the largest internet companies in the 1990s. Yahoo! shocked Silicon Valley in August by luring Ms Mayer from Google to a company that has failed to adapt to the growth in the number of people accessing the web on mobile devices, as well as the expansion of social networks.

As well as improving its basic services, Ms Mayer admitted that Yahoo! needs to rapidly overhaul how its website appears on mobile devices and slim down the number of applications it offers. "Yahoo! hasn't capitalised on the mobile opportunity," said Ms Mayer. "At some point in the near future, Yahoo! will be predominantly a mobile company."

Shares in Yahoo! climbed nearly 3pc to $16.20 in after-market trading on Wall Street as investors appeared to warm to the strategy.

They were also buoyed after third-quarter sales figures came in at $1.09bn, better than had been expected.

Profits climbed to $3.16bn but were flattered by a one-off gain of $2.8bn from Yahoo!'s sale of its stake in Chinese company Alibaba.

Although investors were relieved by Ms Mayer's focus on the businesses that made Yahoo! a household name, there is also considerable scepticism that the company can compete in the longer-term against companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

By Richard Blackden

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