By the numbers: why big-name businesses are bidding for Yahoo

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Who would want to acquire Yahoo? After news broke that the Daily Mail’s publisher is in talks with private equity companies about a potential takeover of Yahoo, many have questioned why a news media company would be drawn to the ailing tech firm, which put its core business up for sale in February, with an 18 April deadline for bids.

AT&T and Comcast have decided against bidding, Time Inc and Google are considering it, but the Daily Mail group will have to beat out frontrunner Verizon, along with various investment firms, to get its hands on Yahoo.

As all eyes turn to CEO Marissa Mayer and the company that weathered a particularly bad 2015 and has struggled with an ongoing identity crisis, here’s a by-the-numbers overview of Yahoo and its potential acquisition.

$110m: value of Mayer’s severance package

As Mayer’s much-discussed turnaround efforts have continued to fail, rumors of her potential ousting have repeatedly surfaced. Most recently, news broke that Verizon is reportedly planning a first-round bid for Yahoo’s web business, and if the telecoms firm is successful, it would replace the embattled Mayer with AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, and Marni Walden, Verizon’s executive vice-president.

In that case, Mayer would reportedly land a whopping $110m in severance. Any scenario in which Mayer is pushed out would net her a big sum of money. If the board fires her, she would be entitled to a $28.5m severance package, but that figure climbs to $110m if she loses her job through a sale of the company.

$4.4bn, 1,700 jobs: financial and job losses to Yahoo for the last three months of 2015

In February, Mayer offered a window into Yahoo’s deep financial struggles when she announced a $4.4bn loss for the last three months of 2015 – along with her plans to cut the workforce by 15%.

That amounts to reducing its workforce to 9,000, with fewer than 1,000 contractors by the end of 2016. The plans also include closing five foreign offices by the end of the year.

Yahoo is a “far stronger, more modern company than the one I joined three and a half years ago,” Mayer told analysts at the time.

280m: number of Yahoo Mail accounts

By 1997, Yahoo was no longer just a portal for news and weather – it was a vessel for email. Today, email remains the principal reason people visit Yahoo, with a total of roughly 280m accounts – a figure that may seem seem shocking to the many Gmail users who cringe when they see a message from an “@yahoo.com” address landing in their inboxes.

$230m: decrease in value of Tumblr since Yahoo bought it

The fate of the popular Yahoo-owned social network Tumblr is of particular interest in the recent acquisition talks. Tumblr users are resistant to advertising and tend to be web-savvy, young liberals who might not be huge fans of the socially conservative Daily Mail.

Additionally, even though Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1bn (£770m), Yahoo recently wrote down Tumblr’s value by $230m. The site would still, however, make up a significant part of Yahoo’s total value.

3: Yahoo’s position among most visited monthly websites

A lot of people visit Yahoo’s websites each month. In fact, according to the latest comScore data ranking US online activity, Yahoo sites attracted the third-largest number of unique visitors in February – behind Facebook and Google. Yahoo had 204m visitors trailing Facebook (206m) and Google sites (243m).

Facebook overthrew Yahoo in audience rankings back in 2010.

62%, 2%: proportion of Yahoo workforce that is male, and black

As of July 2015, Yahoo’s workforce was 62% male, though the gender disparity is even greater in leadership roles, of which men hold 76%. That was a very slight improvement from 2014 when men held 77% of leadership roles.

These figures did not, however, stop a former male employee from arguing that he was the subject of “gender-based discrimination” with a lawsuit saying Yahoo “intentionally hired and promoted women because of their gender, while terminating, demoting or laying off male employees because of their gender”.

In the US, Yahoo is only 4% Hispanic and only 2% black.

6,000: number of patents Yahoo owns

In the wake of increasing pressure from shareholders, Yahoo’s chief financial officer recently announced that the company was exploring the sale of $1bn to $3bn of patents, property and other “non-core assets”. The company has reportedly sold or licensed more than $600m in patents over the last three years.

According to one recent report, Yahoo holds roughly 6,000 patents that cover a wide range of technologies, including mobile messaging, data mining and behavioral ad targeting. The patents could be worth as much as $4bn.

-11%: drop in unique monthly users of Yahoo News

While the Daily Mail may be interested in taking over media properties like Yahoo News and Yahoo Sports, there’s only one media section in which the company has seen substantial growth: Yahoo Finance. From February 2015 to February 2016, Yahoo News unique visitors declined by 11%, Yahoo Sports traffic dropped 16% and Yahoo Lifestyle saw 42% fewer visitors.

Yahoo Finance, however, saw a growth of 43% during that time. The company’s personal finance coverage has apparently proved to be popular among millennials.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sam Levin in San Francisco, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 12th April 2016 22.13 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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