Yahoo Board Backs Beleaguered CEO Carol Bartz

6:03 AM PST 10/19/2010 by Georg Szalai

Company to report quarterly results amid private equity, AOL deal talk

NEW YORK - With Yahoo set to report its third-quarter earnings after the market close Tuesday, the Web company's board remains committed to and in full support of beleaguered CEO Carol Bartz, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source familiar with the situation.

While critics have suggested she may be running out of time to turn around the company's fortunes and boost its position dramatically, the Journal said the board hasn't even discussed bringing in a strong No. 2 executive, such as a COO, to support Bartz who took over in Jan. 2009.

The board support comes amid private equity groups' look at a potential acquisition of Yahoo, likely with a strategic partner, such as AOL or News Corp.

Jordan Rohan, analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, said the quarterly earnings report Tuesday afternoon will be treated like a "sideshow" given recent focus on strategic moves and a possible sale. He expects "weaker results and a muted outlook," saying "the third-quarter results are not likely to sway investors."

Jefferies analyst Youssef Squali said in a note to investors that weak quarterly results "could be a positive for the stock as they would hasten decisions around strategic alternatives for the company (outright sale, asset sale, go-private etc), while good results would relieve pressure on management and extend their execution runway for a few more quarters."

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