Activist Yahoo Investor Pushes for Answers on Tuesday Earnings Call

Hedge fund Third Point looked to keep up the pressure on new CEO Scott Thompson and the online firm's board.


Ahead of Yahoo's first-quarter earnings report Tuesday afternoon, activist investor Third Point tried to keep the pressure on the Internet company and its management team, led by CEO Scott Thompson, posting a list of questions for Yahoo and its board to answer.

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"How does Yahoo's proposed operating plan differ substantively from those of the last three CEOs" was the first on the list of 18 questions. They were filed on the hedge fund's Web site focused on Yahoo and in a regulatory filing. The questions were seen by Wall Street observers as a way for Third Point to show that the Yahoo leadership has more work to do to win over investors.

Third Point has offered four alternative choices for Yahoo board members, including former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker.

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Among the other questions: What are management’s financial targets for 2012? Does the previously announced headcount reduction represent the full extent of cost reductions investors should expect? And: After over a year of talks, what is the status of the monetization of Yahoo! Japan? What hurdles remain?

Meanwhile, B. Riley analyst Sameet Sinh predicted no major earnings surprises. "Clearly, fundamentals are not the driver for Yahoo's stock price," the analyst said in a note to investors. "Investors are looking to hear Scott Thompson’s strategic plan for the company and get an update on the continued discussion on the sale of Asian assets."

With a "buy" rating and $20 stock target, Sinh said: "We believe that there is limited downside risk" for Yahoo's stock.

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