Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is unlikely to sell the company, says Kara Swisher, executive editor of technology site Re/code.
Swisher was on a podcast I host with New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo. We were talking about Yahoo, a company Swisher knows better than anybody else.
“I don’t think they will put the company up for sale,” says Swisher. Of course they will entertain offers, she says, for fiduciary reasons. If they get a really good offer then they would sell, but that seems unlikely.
Mayer has a plan for Yahoo, says Swisher based on talking to sources familiar with Mayer — friends, mentors.
“Marissa Mayer is a very aggressive and competitive person. Do you think she wants to sell it? I don’t think so. I talked to a lot of her friends this week. I’ve talked to a lot of people that are close to her, mentors and things like that. She seems to have a plan.
I think giving up is not in her nature. The only issue is would they fire her if she doesn’t get what she wants? That’s another difficult thing for the board to do. So, the question is should they stick with a bit longer, those are difficult questions, but it seems to me she is not one that would want to sell.”
There is increased scrutiny on Yahoo because hedge fund manager Jeff Smith of Starboard has been lobbing grenades lately saying Yahoo should sell itself.
But Smith can’t do much, says Swisher because he hasn’t won over a big block of shareholders.
“Unless Jeff Smith has flipped a number of big investors from BlackRock, or Fidelity, if he has flipped them, that’s a whole new can of worms, but it doesn’t seem like he has.”
The board backs Mayer, and if she doesn’t want to sell, and that’s what people around her are saying, then she’s not going to sell.
While there have been reports of suitors lining up, the truth is that nobody is really serious about approaching Yahoo right now. PE shops, and some other companies are dusting off spreadsheets, but nobody has been talking.
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