It’s hard to find a company as iconic as Yahoo is in tech. Not surprisingly, Yahoo’s been one of the most closely watched tech companies over the past two decades.
But Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman, who’s been in the position for the last four years, doesn’t seem too excited about it. Rather, he’s flabbergasted by the staggering amount of attention his company’s been attracting from the press.
“I’ve never seen anything like the amount of attention we get given our size. You get papers in New York that — I’m not quite sure why they think we are so interesting as a company. It’s amazing to me,” Goldman said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Thursday.
Goldman may have a point. The level of public scrutiny Yahoo faces from moment-to-moment seems almost unprecedented, especially given its relatively small size compared to other tech giants, like Google or Apple — each worth nearly six-times more than Yahoo.
Part of Goldman’s frustration also comes from the fact that there is often inaccurate information about the company in the news. In its most recent earnings call, for example, Yahoo had to publicly dispute some of the claims made about its holiday spending.
“It’s amazing to me how much information is out there, much of which is not correct,” he said.
But a closer look at Yahoo’s past history and its current situation gives a clue to why everyone seems to be so intrigued by its every move. Here are a few reasons why:
Yahoo’s brand: Yahoo’s one of the oldest web companies around, and one of the first dot-com-era companies to go public. It’s almost impossible to find someone who hasn’t crossed paths with Yahoo at some point in their careers in Silicon Valley. It’s probably why so many people seem to be pulling for Yahoo to make a comeback.
Unlocked value: As Goldman pointed out, Yahoo’s one of the three web companies that have more than 1 billion visitors (alongside Google and Facebook). But despite having a strong brand and a huge user base, Yahoo’s management seems to be struggling to convince investors that it has a bright future. Its revenue has been stagnant at best and its share price has been in decline for months.
Perennial hotbed of drama: Perhaps more than any other tech company, Yahoo seems to find itself continually involved in some kind of controversy. From management dysfunction to missed opportunities, Yahoo keeps inspiring stories that draw the attention of readers interested in business drama.
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