Friday, January 20, 2012


Jerry Yang, who co-founded Yahoo! nearly 17 years ago and had an ill-fated stint as chief executive, resigned on Tuesday from all of his positions with the struggling Internet company.

Yang, 43, one of the original dotcom billionaires, resigned, effective immediately, from the board of directors of Yahoo! and from the boards of Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Yahoo! shares rose more than 3.5 percent to $15.99 in after-hours trading following the announcement that Yang was stepping away from the Sunnyvale, California-based company.

In a letter to Roy Bostock, the chairman of the Yahoo! board, Yang said "my time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo!"

Yang owns 3.6 percent of Yahoo!'s shares and has a net worth of $1.1 billion, according to Forbes.

"As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future," Yang said.

Bostock, in a statement, described Yang as a "visionary and a pioneer, who has contributed enormously to Yahoo! during his many years of service.

"He has always remained focused on the best interests of Yahoo!'s stakeholders, including shareholders, employees and more than 700 million users," he said.

"And while I and the entire board respect his decision, we will miss his remarkable perspective, vision and wise counsel," Bostock said.

Yang co-founded Yahoo! in 1995 with David Filo and the pioneering Internet company went public the following year.

Yang served as chief executive of Yahoo! from June 2007 to January 2009, during which time he notably turned down a $47 billion takeover bid from Microsoft, earning the ire of many shareholders.

Thompson, who was named CEO nearly two weeks ago, replacing Carol Bartz, who was fired in September, said Yang "leaves behind a legacy of innovation and customer focus for this iconic brand.

"Jerry has great confidence in the future of Yahoo!, and I share his confidence in the enormous potential of Yahoo! in the days ahead," Thompson said.

Since Bartz's departure in September, Yahoo!'s board has reportedly been looking at selling all or part of the company and Yang was seen as a fierce opponent of a breakup by some shareholders.

Analyst Jon Ogg of 247wallst.com said Yang's departure was "classified as a resignation" but "in reality this is a force-out."

"Needless to say, many investors are going to be glad to see Jerry Yang out of the way," Ogg said. "Very, Very Glad!"

"Yahoo! is barely half of its market value today compared to when Microsoft Corporation made its buyout offer," he said. "Jerry Yang's role in that acquisition at the time was 'Chief Reality Blocker.'

Microsoft has reportedly been collaborating with private investors to assemble another multi-billion-dollar offer for Yahoo!.

At least nine private equity firms are also reported to be eyeing Yahoo! and its global audience of 700 million monthly visitors to the company's various websites, including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance and Yahoo! Sports.

Online commerce titan Alibaba is 43 percent owned by Yahoo! and Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma has a long-standing offer to buy all or part of the company.

Once seen as the Internet's leading light, Yahoo! has struggled to build a strongly profitable, growing business out of its huge Web presence and global audience.

Yahoo! has strong content and popular websites, but has been losing online advertising business to search giant Google, social networking king Facebook and specialized websites. — AFP
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