During Tuesday’s earnings call, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer took a moment to dispute some of the recent media reports about Yahoo’s allegedly lavish spending, including the $7 million holiday party and $450 million of free food.
She described them as “gross mischaracterizations and untruths spread about Yahoo,” saying the actual costs were only about a third of what has been reported.
Given that the $7 million and $450 million figures first came out of the famous 99-page slide deck put together by SpringOwl Asset Management’s Eric Jackson, Mayer’s comments almost sounded like a direct response to the hedge fund manager’s presentation.
But Jackson’s not buying it, and believes Mayer’s got her numbers wrong.
“She was definitely referring to our deck,” Jackson told Business Insider. “We stand by all our spending numbers previously presented including the several others we mentioned in the deck like Davos and The Met Ball.”
A “reputable contact”
Jackson claims that the $7 million figure came from a “very reputable contact.” He says the $450 million tag he put on Yahoo’s food cost was an estimate he got from calling Yahoo’s caterer Bon Appetit of Palo Alto. He simply took the actual rates charged for different catering packages and applied it to the size of Yahoo’s workforce.
“They say they need to spend this money to retain and attract their employees. We respectfully disagree,” Jackson said.
When we reached Yahoo for comment, it pointed us back to Mayer’s comments from Tuesday, stressing it cost $150 for each invited attendee at the Holiday party.
“In December, SpringOwl Asset Management published a lengthy slide deck containing gross mischaracterizations and untruths about Yahoo. With many inaccuracies purported to be fact, it’s important for us to continue to set the record straight,” it said in an email statement.
But Jackson said the bigger question is that Yahoo failed to respond to any of the other information contained in his 99-page presentation. And given that Yahoo’s stock is down almost 6% Wednesday morning, he thinks investors want more answers from Yahoo.
“We had 99 pages of information. They were silent on virtually everything in the deck,” Jackson added. “Hopefully the company will continue to take actions to help raise the stock price.”
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