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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, Virgin Media and Amazon.com



The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, Virgin Media and
                                  Amazon.com

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 8, 2013

CHICAGO, March 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), Google
Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG), Facebook, Inc. (Nasdaq:FB), Virgin Media, Inc.
(Nasdaq:VMED) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit
from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Can Mayer Revive Yahoo?

After a little more than five and a half months as CEO of Yahoo! Inc.
(Nasdaq:YHOO), Marissa Mayer has received a bonus of $1.1 million. This is in
addition to her annual base pay of $1.1 million and long-term stock
compensations worth $56 million.

Yet Yahoo shareholders are not complaining. Since Mayer quit Google Inc.
(Nasdaq:GOOG) to join Yahoo, the company's stock has risen steadily. From
$16.54 in the last week of October, the stock price has risen steadily to
$22.80. This 38% gain shows that investors are of the view that Mayer is
taking the company in the right direction.

The software major has been faced with several problems over time. Some of
them have come from actual performance. Yahoo, once the largest seller of
online display ads, has been dethroned by Google and Facebook, Inc.
(Nasdaq:FB). Meanwhile, its home page and email services had become nearly
obsolete, depending primarily on people who had simply not cared to change
habits. Finally, it had missed two key Internet trends – social networking and
the proliferation of mobile services.

As the stock continues to appreciate with Mayer's appearance as the CEO,
expectations from her tenure are also high. Most of the company's problems are
internal and have to do with its culture. First, the company has seen six CEOs
in five years and needs stability at the top. Additionally, all of them have
looked outward instead of fixing internal issues.

This means that some tough decisions need be taken at the rudderless ship that
has been Yahoo. Mayer has fired the first salvo, via an internal memo which
has ended the company's work-from-home option. Those privy to hearing her
speak on the issue have learned that she wants "all hands on deck."

The idea is that more people at the workplace would mean more impromptu
meetings, brainstorming and quicker decision-making. Around 200 people at
Yahoo were working from home, and Mayer was greeted by empty floors and
parking lots, contrary to the culture at her earlier employer Google. Many of
these employees had low productivity and some of them had even begun working
on their own start-ups.

Her decision has been met with much criticism. A spokeswoman for the website
Working Mother has said that the new policy was "incredibly disappointing."
She said Mayer was taking "her workforce back to the last century" through
this move.

Meanwhile Richard Branson, who heads Virgin Media, Inc. (Nasdaq:VMED), has
also criticized the policy claiming that this was "a backward step in an age
when remote working is easier and more effective than ever." He claimed that
it reflected her lack of trust in employees, who should be able to deliver
work remotely without supervision.

But it's not all tough talk -- Mayer has provided free food at company
cafeterias and handed out iPhones and Android phones to employees in lieu of
BlackBerry phones. The free-food policy has resulted in larger crowds eating
together and animated discussions which will hopefully spark much-needed
ideas. The result is that the external perception of Yahoo is beginning to
change. The company is now receiving job applications from workers at rivals
Facebook and Google.

While the uproar over her new policy may be diverting attention from the key
challenges that Mayer faces, it is important to define the company's mission
in the medium term urgently. For instance, is Yahoo a media company, competing
with the likes of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN)?

Mayer has chosen to call Yahoo a technology company. However, it continues to
act in a manner which is closer to its earlier definition of a digital media
company, such as partnering with NBC Sports and Wenner Media.

Meanwhile, Yahoo has decided to prune the number of mobile apps it offers from
60 to 12. The idea is to merge apps into each other and reduce the number of
apps which users have to download. The company's Flickr photo sharing site has
also been upgraded. Users can now tag friends using the @ symbol. High
resolution photo displays and quicker uploads are some of the other key
changes.

Though the company remains far behind Facebook and Google, Mayer is clearly
taking Yahoo into a new era. This is reflected in its upward stock price. Only
time will tell whether "tougher" internal moves like abolishing work from home
will help Yahoo recuperate.

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