Yahoo prepares for split, will lay off 15% of workforce in restructuring
Internet search, content pioneer and Apple partner Yahoo is readying for either a reverse spinoff or outright sale that would see the well-known web businesses separated from the parent company and more than 1,000 employees laid off.
Company officials indicated that while they are moving forward with the expectation that Yahoo's web properties will exist as an independent entity, the board of directors would entertain offers to purchase the core assets. Disney, Verizon, and AT&T have all at various times expressed interest in acquiring Yahoo should it put itself up for sale, and private equity firms are likely to make a play for the seminal web portal as well.
As part of the realignment, Yahoo will close five offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Milan.
Following the split, Yahoo's huge stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba — which has largely propped up Yahoo's stock price for the last three years — will remain with the original company. An earlier plan to spin off the Alibaba stake instead was rejected by the IRS.
In the immediate future, Yahoo will be "focused on discovering, being the digital information guide that we've always been, and really thinking through how can we inform, connect and entertain our users," chief executive Marissa Mayer said during a CNBC interview.
She plans to reorganize Yahoo around three core platforms in search, mail, and Tumblr. Each of those platforms will be used to pitch one of four primary verticals — news, sports, finance, and lifestyle — on a region-by-region basis.
Yahoo remains an Apple partner, and that status is likely to be unaffected by the restructuring. The company currently provides data for the iOS Stocks app and is available as a search option in Safari, though Mayer failed in earlier attempts to outbid Google for the default placement.
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