Yahoo will report its first quarter earnings after the market closes on Tuesday afternoon.
This will be one of the most closely watched Yahoo earnings reports in a long while — but not because people are really curious about the actual numbers.
Yahoo’s already expected to report steep declines across the board, so there’ll be less interest in the financial results. Instead, most people will tune in to hear how Yahoo addresses all the external issues facing the company.
“Expectations are pretty low already for the company,” Mizuho Securities analyst Neil Doshi told Business Insider.
“Given there’s a sales process, a proxy fight, a potential for doing something with Yahoo Japan, and then possibly selling some assets to realise additional shareholder value, I think those are the things people will be more focused on at this point.”
Here’s a rundown of the things investors will want to hear from Yahoo’s earnings on Tuesday:
- Progress with the sales process: Yahoo said it would seek potential buyers for its core internet business in its last earnings call. The company reportedly set the deadline for placing first round bids on Monday, but there hasn’t been any official comment from Yahoo about it yet. Verizon and private equity firms like TPG are reported to be front-runners, but don’t be surprised by wildcard bidders, like the Yellow Pages.
- Details around the proxy fight: Activist investor Starboard Value launched a proxy fight by submitting its nominations that would replace the entire Yahoo board in March. Yahoo hasn’t disclosed any details around how it would deal with the proxy contest, but investors will at least like to hear the expected cost of the proxy fight.
- Sale of other assets like patents: Yahoo has previously disclosed that it would seek the sale of its non-strategic patents and assets, including some real-estate property, that could be worth between $1 billion to $3 billion. But it’s not clear if there have been any bidders for those assets, or what anyone might be willing to pay for the assets.
- Negotiations with Softbank and Yahoo Japan: Yahoo owns 35% of Yahoo Japan and has a royalty deal that brought in roughly $90 million last year for licensing its brand to its Japanese counterpart. SunTrust analyst Bob Peck believes the Yahoo Japan royalties alone would be worth over $1 billion, and could potentially be sold off separately.
- State of employee morale: It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to work at Yahoo now with all the public scrutiny the company’s facing. Mizuho’s Doshi says employee morale is tanking and a lot of staffers are likely shopping around their resumes. It will be interesting to hear how Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s helping employees stay motivated, as she continues to pursue her own 3-year turnaround plan.
But despite all these extraneous activities surrounding the company, it’s likely Yahoo’s management will not address most of them during the earnings call, given the sensitivity of the issues, Doshi says. And although declines are expected, Yahoo will still try to paint a positive picture around its business, especially since management has to prove it’s the right leadership team to run the company compared to Starboard’s new board nominations.
Via Yahoo Finance, here’s what analysts are expecting:
- Q1 adjusted earnings per share (EPS): $0.07, down from $0.15 in Q1 2015
- Q1 Revenue: $1.08 billion, down ~12.2% from $1.23 billion in the year-ago period
In any case, the stakes are high for Yahoo and a lot of investors will be listening closely to management’s comments during the earnings call, which starts at 5PM EST on Tuesday.
“Overall, what people want to get at is if the management team and the board are doing their fiduciary responsibility to make sure they’re creating value for their shareholders, and if they have been running an appropriate process on the M&A side,” Doshi said.