Yahoo Decides to Release a Rosy Forecast
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo has released a rosy outlook for the next two years, hoping to give investors a better understanding of why the company is not willing to sell itself to Microsoft for less than $45 billion.
Analysts interpreted the company’s unscheduled disclosure on Tuesday as a sign that Yahoo’s attempts to find an alternative to Microsoft’s offer, announced Feb. 1, are not bearing fruit.
With its options apparently narrowing, Yahoo is under pressure to justify its board’s decision last month to rebuff a takeover offer that was 62 percent higher than the company’s market value.
Microsoft’s cash-and-stock bid was initially valued at $44.6 billion, or $31 a share — a price that Yahoo concluded was not enough, though it came after a two-year decline in the company’s profit. By sharing internal projections drawn up in December, Yahoo appears to be making a case for either its independence or a higher offer from Microsoft.
The forecasts predict that Yahoo’s revenue — minus advertising commissions — will climb more than 70 percent during the next three years to reach $8.8 billion in 2010.
As management warned in late January, Yahoo has modest growth expectations for 2008. Yahoo still expects revenue, after subtracting advertising commissions, to total $5.7 billion this year, in line with analysts’ expectations.
But Yahoo assured investors that its plans to grab a bigger piece of online advertising will become more evident after this year, with revenue climbing by about 25 percent in 2009 and 2010.
After subtracting ad commissions, Yahoo’s revenue predictions of $7.1 billion in 2009 and $8.8 billion in 2010 are well ahead of analysts’ estimates.
Microsoft so far has not wavered from its original offer. What is more, the software maker, based in Redmond, Wash., has indicated it would try to oust Yahoo’s board if the resistance continues.
But the two sides signaled they might be ready to negotiate last week when senior executives from Yahoo and Microsoft held their first face-to-face meeting in Silicon Valley.
A Stanford Group analyst, Clayton Moran, described Yahoo’s decision to release its projections as “another step in the public negotiation between these two companies.”
“We believe this deal is turning friendly,” Mr. Moran said.
Yahoo’s shares rose $1.81, to $27.66. Microsoft shares rose $1.12, to $29.42.