Yahoo shareholders are not happy. Yes, the investor landscape has been choppy lately, but it's been a long time since Yahoo (YHOO) has been hot.
Instead, investors in the Sunnyvale dot com pioneer have had to watch Google mint millionaires, while smaller rivals like Facebook and Twitter have eaten Yahoo's lunch, exciting a new crop of investors along the way.
Today, as Yahoo holds its shareholder meeting, CEO Carol Bartz is facing those shareholders. They’re not happy. Admittedly, why should they be? Bartz and others have been talking about Yahoo’s bright future for years now. The company has bought companies, sold off companies, hired new workers, layed off large numbers of workers. Nothing, though, has moved the stock price.
On top of that, Yahoo is facing fresh problems in China. What should have been a growth area has turned into a quagmire, and shareholders, hoping to see money come from Yahoo’s Alibaba subsidiary, are now giving up hope in one of the world’s largest markets.
At the shareholder meeting, though, pitchforks have been replaced by forgiveness – at least on the part of Yahoo’s Board of Directors. They have, for now, given Bartz a vote of confidence. Company Chairman Roy Bostock calls Yahoo’s future a “clear path forward,” and says Bartz is the one to get it done. This doesn't mean that Bartz's job is totally safe - how many times have we seen votes of confidence morph quickly into firings? - but it is a step towards buying her, and the company, a little more time to please investors.
But is there a magic bullet? As I write this, Yahoo shares are trading just below 15 dollars a share. That's where they were two years ago, and half of where they were five years ago.
Scott can be found on Twitter: @scottbudman