Yahoo! shake-up doesn't shake up stock

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Wall Street's response to Yahoo! Inc.'s big management shake-up and restructuring amounted to little more than a collective yawn Wednesday.

Yahoo! stock lost 2.1% on Wednesday, its first trading day after CEO Terry Semel said the company will reorganize into three business units and that chief operating officer Dan Rosensweig will leave the company, along with media group chief Lloyd Braun and senior vp Jon Marcon.

Semel also said that chief financial officer Susan Decker will head one of the new units, the one that includes advertising sales, where the bulk of Yahoo!'s revenue comes from.

That set analysts buzzing Wednesday over the possibility that Decker, herself a former Wall Street analyst, is being groomed for the CEO slot whenever Semel steps down.

Such a prospect seemed to impress some but bore others.

"The remaining management team, with their media/finance background, represents the wrong approach in an Internet battle that is steeped in technology," Deutsche Bank analyst Jeetil Patel said.

Decker will be interim chief financial officer while Yahoo! searches for her replacement.

Senior vp search Jeff Weiner, a Warner Bros. alumnus like Semel, also will take on additional responsibilities in Yahoo!'s quest to play catch-up in social networking, where News Corp.'s MySpace and Google's YouTube dominate, Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post said.

The departure of Braun, a former TV guru who is developing media content for Yahoo! suggests that "Yahoo! will have an increasing focus on user-generated content versus company-generated content," Post said.

Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto worried about "unintended consequences" brought about by the management and structural changes. While he predicted a near-term hit on the stock price, he called the moves "the right long-term decision."
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