Yahoo CEO Mayer Adding Mobile Users After App Overhauls

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) gained the most in eight months as Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer used her first annual meeting with shareholders to outline progress in attracting users of mobile devices.

The shares rose 3.7 percent to $24.96 at the close in New York, the largest one-day increase since October 23. The shares have advanced 25 percent this year, compared with an 11 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Mayer, the third CEO to preside over the annual meeting in as many years, cited user growth, new employee perks and deals such as last month’s $1.1 billion purchase of blogging platform Tumblr Inc. as evidence that her turnaround is taking root. Yahoo shares have climbed more than 50 percent since her hiring in July -- outperforming display-advertising rival Facebook Inc. over the same period, she said during the meeting.

The number of daily active users for the Flickr photo app has jumped 50 percent since it was redesigned in May, while use of mobile e-mail has climbed 70 percent since an overhaul in April, she said.

“All of our growth is going to start with our users,” Mayer said today at the company’s annual meeting in Santa Clara, California.

Yahoo shareholders questioned Mayer on competition, her decision earlier this year to ban working from home and whether she plans to root for the Green Bay Packers or the San Francisco 49ers during the football season opener this fall.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The Yahoo! Inc. logo is displayed on a flag flying at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, U.S.. Close

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Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The Yahoo! Inc. logo is displayed on a flag flying at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, U.S..

“The great dilemmas of our time,” Mayer, a Wisconsin native, told the audience. “Go Packers.”

Wal-Mart Workers

Mayer, who sits on the board of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., was also confronted by three current or former employees of the world’s largest retailer. These attendees asked for her support on worker-rights issues.

“There’s a time and place for all business,” Mayer said. “This morning’s business is about Yahoo, which is separate from Wal-Mart.”

The CEO later agreed to arrange a meeting with members of OUR Walmart, a non-profit organization supporting employees of the big box retailer, Nick Sifuentes, a spokesman for the group said in an e-mail.

Mayer took the reins last year from Ross Levinsohn, who presided over the previous shareholder meeting in his role as interim CEO. Carol Bartz, who held the top spot at Yahoo until her firing in 2011, led the annual meeting that year.

Mayer’s push to revamp products such as Yahoo’s home page and e-mail had done little to reverse a decline in display-ad sales, an area where Google and Facebook are gaining ground.

Facebook, Google

Yahoo’s share of global revenue from online ads may slip to 3.1 percent this year from 3.4 percent in 2012, according to researcher EMarketer Inc. Google’s portion is estimated to rise to 33 percent from 31 percent, while Facebook may increase its share to 5 percent from 4.1 percent.

Adding Tumblr will expand Yahoo’s audience by 50 percent to more than 1 billion monthly visitors, increasing traffic by about 20 percent, Yahoo said last month.

Mayer has purchased at least 11 companies during her tenure as CEO, from mobile-application makers Stamped Inc. and Jybe Inc. to Summly, the news-reading app created by teenager Nick D’Aloisio. Before Tumblr, most of her deals have been small and focused on gaining talent, an approach she advocated during her first conference call with analysts last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco at dmacmillan3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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