Tech

Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Here's How Yahoo's Marissa Mayer Can Salvage Her Legacy

Yahoo is considering selling all or parts of the company. If that sounds familiar, it's because Yahoo also considered a sale starting in 2011. And in 2008. Could this time be for real?

Since Yahoo said in February that it would take offers for the company, a handful of potential buyers has been kicking the tires. On its own, Yahoo has struggled. But the company's websites draw more than 200 million people in the U.S. each month, which makes Yahoo a potential multibillion-dollar prize for new asset owners like Verizon or the U.K.'s Daily Mail. Financial firms are circling Yahoo, too, in the hopes they can mine more money from that big audience.

In hindsight, Yahoo was smart not to sell the company when it had a chance a few years ago. But circumstances are different now.

First, an unhappy shareholder is trying to replace Yahoo's entire board. If that happens, CEO Marissa Mayer may lose control of her company. And if that isn't enough pressure, Yahoo's finances also aren't going like gangbusters. Revenue has flat-lined since Mayer took over as CEO nearly four years ago, and operating profits have turned into losses. 

Mayer recently said her playbook to fix Yahoo could take a few years to show results. Investors who have already been waiting years for a turnaround may not be that patient.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Shira Ovide in New York at sovide@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Daniel Niemi at dniemi1@bloomberg.net