The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Yahoo’s board will meet several times this week, during which the company’s directors will consider whether to sell Yahoo’s lucrative stake in Alibaba, the company’s core Internet business, or both.
A spokesman for Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Yahoo (YHOO, Tech30) CEO Marissa Mayer has struggled to reverse Yahoo’s years-long decline in sales. The Internet portal’s bread-and-butter advertising business has recently been surpassed by Google and Facebook, and the gap between them is only widening.
The company has gone through many attempts at a makeover over the past decade, opting to shed its once dominant search business, then deciding to focus on its media assets, then putting emphasis on its apps and services — all ending with the same result: Yahoo is failing to take advantage of its massive audience and convert those eyeballs into growing ad sales.
Shares of Yahoo have tumbled 35% this year.
Meanwhile, the bad news keeps piling up for Yahoo. An unfavorable ruling from the IRS means that Yahoo will have to pay taxes when it sells its massive $30 billion stake in Alibaba. Activist investor group Starboard has asked Yahoo not to sell its Alibaba business and instead look to sell off its core Internet business.
It’s unclear what companies or investors might be interested in Yahoo. Microsoft had offered to take over Yahoo for $46 billion in 2008, but Yahoo fought off the deal.
Now, Yahoo is worth just over $30 billion. Since that includes the company’s Alibaba and $8.5 billion Yahoo Japan stakes, investors have valued Yahoo’s core business as essentially worthless.
Yahoo still is one of the most-visited websites in the world. It received 210 million visitors in October, according to comScore, making it the No. 3 site behind Google and Facebook.