For better or worse, Yahoo!
David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital has amassed a stake in the meandering dot-com giant. Now let's see if he's going to roll up his sleeves to get the company on the path of improving its shareholder value.
"Our ideas start with a story," Einhorn explains in a Fool.com interview earlier this year. "Is the market missing something that we see? Once we find an idea, the due diligence starts. We try to uncover a mispricing, and then we invest. Despite our reputation, we are predominantly long investors."
Einhorn's reputation? The guy's a hedge fund legend. If his name is ever dragged through the mud, it's usually when he's making a bearish wager. He can be relentless when he's in attack mode. His battle against Allied Capital
Yahoo! shareholders will be stoked to see Einhorn on their side. Yahoo! management may not feel as receptive.
Greenlight points out that Yahoo!'s investments in Yahoo! Japan and China's Alibaba are worth roughly $8 a share. I don't think the market has ever missed that. Yahoo!'s reluctance to unlock that value through either a spinoff or sale has made it difficult to appreciate. There's also the fear of what Yahoo! would be worth if it lost its sexy passive stakes overseas.
Yahoo! is one of the few Internet companies -- if not the only dot-com outside of AOL
Yahoo!'s display advertising business did climb 10% in its latest quarter, but will it be sexy enough to support the stock if its Asian investments are carved out? Will a management shakeup be required? Is Yahoo! about to become the next teetering tech darling to initiate a dividend distribution policy to smoke out income investors?
Things are about to get interesting.
What would you do to turn Yahoo! around? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Yahoo! is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!. Alpha Newsletter Account, LLC owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders if Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz regrets her decision to lead Yahoo!. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy, and it's got mail.