Yahoo reports widened $440m loss and disappointing Tumblr performance

Yahoo's losses widened year on year due to an increase in traffic costs and struggles to monetise Tumblr

Yahoo today (July 17) reported revenues of $1.3bn for the last quarter, compared to a loss of $22m the same period 12 months earlier, with the company also reporting a near $500m downgrade in the valuation of its Tumblr purchase, three years into its takeover of the picture-sharing service.

As speculation over who will buy the company continues to loom, with U.S. telcos AT&T, AOL-owner Verizon Wireless, plus private equity outfits all billed as likely suitors. Yahoo was unable to offer any more insight into the immediate future of the former internet giant, but the results of the last 12 weeks speak to the challenge facing any potential buyer.

The early internet pioneer’s most recent results also revealed a greatly increased increase in traffic acquisition costs ($466m) compared to 12 months earlier ($200m), in addition to a $482m “Goodwill and Intangibles Impairment” related to its Tumblr service during the quarter.

Yahoo’s financial statement further added that there were “decreases in our projected Tumblr operating results and estimated future cash flows”, during the quarter.

Although the company posted an increase in its MAVENS, mobile, and search-related ad revenues, a seven per cent annual decrease in display ad revenue ($470m) for the second quarter of 2016, equated to a 15 per cent decrease in its price-per-ad compared to 12 months earlier.

In a statement release with the company’s financial statement, Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, said: "With the lowest cost structure and headcount in a decade, we continue to make solid progress against our 2016 plan. Through disciplined expense management and focused execution, we delivered Q2 results that met guidance across the board and in some areas exceeded it.

"In addition to our efforts to improve the operating business, our board has made great progress on strategic alternatives. We are relentlessly focused on delivering shareholder value."

Yahoo’s board was also widely expected to discuss the ongoing speculation over the company’s looming future during the accompanying analyst call but little further insight was given as to the resolution of the ongoing bidding process.

Speculation over potential suitors has been rife in recent months (as has speculation over the future of CEO Marissa Mayer, who is now four years into her turnaround project, which has centered on its much-touted MAVENS strategy.

Speaking with The Drum at last month’s Cannes Lions event in France, Yahoo CRO Lisa Utzschneider, said the company’s message to the market was: “It’s just business as usual …”

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