Yahoo Serenades Investors With Simoleon Siren Song

19 March 2008

SUNNYVALE, California: Yahoo's senior executive cadre is on the stump this week, serenading the company's major investors in an effort to dissuade them from accepting last month's unsolicited – and unwelcome – $42 billion (€26.6bn; £20.78bn) bid from Microsoft.

The nub of Yahoo's pitch to its punters? Stay with us, there's jam tomorrow!

Yahoo is telling the moneymen it expects operating cash flow to almost double to $3.7 billion over the next three years – a figure that with a following wind will generate revenue of $8.8 billion (excluding traffic acquisition costs) come 2010.

The portal's preachers also stressed that the current quarter's prospects are looking good – countering widespread expectations to the contrary. As a result Yahoo shares gained over 5% on Tuesday

Observed Canaccord Adams analyst Colin Gillis: "The concern was a weak March quarter would significantly disrupt Yahoo's shares and Microsoft might pull its bid. I think it was important to come out there and say the business isn't falling apart."

Yahoo's bullish pitch hinges on extending the company's market lead in selling graphical display ads over the next several  years. It is also talking-up expected improvements in its online search and mobile operations.

However, the firm's projections appear more than a tad Pollyannaish in that they fail to take account of a likely weakening in the market for online advertising. Nor do they factor-in increasing competition.

And the specter of recession? Nary a word.

Jim Friedland, senior internet analyst with Cowen & Co, voiced the thoughts of many of his peers. "Yahoo is likely to put its most aggressive foot forward. We're skeptical about the numbers."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff