Yahoo Inc. has named Scott Thompson, president of eBay Inc.'s PayPal division, as its new CEO, the fourth one in less than five years for the struggling Internet company.
Thompson, who takes over on January 9, will also join Yahoo's board. He ran eBay's PayPal since early 2008, and was previously its chief technology officer. Under his leadership Yahoo said PayPal increased its user base from 50 million to more than 104 million active users. PayPal processed $29 billion in payments in the third quarter of 2011.
Thompson joins Yahoo during a period of turmoil, as the company plows ahead with a strategic review in which discussions have included the possibility of being sold, taken private or broken up. Chairman Roy Bostock told analysts on a joint conference call with Thompson, that Yahoo has no intention of being taken private. "The traffic itself that these sites generate is a very big number, the collection of assets that sit below this core business I think are not well understood and clearly have tremendous opportunity to be leveraged as we look forward to the future.”, said Thompson. Roy Bostock also said Wednesday that the company's "strategic review" wasn't over.
In November last year, Microsoft signed a confidentiality agreement with Yahoo allowing the software giant to take a closer look at Yahoo’s business. Portada analyzed the possible implications of the merger for the U.S. Hispanic and the Latin American digital media markets.
Microsoft unsuccessfully tried to buy Yahoo in 2008 for as much as $47.5 billion before walking away in frustration. Yahoo’s stock is worth less than half of Microsoft’s last offer of $33 per share.
Tim Morse, Yahoo's chief financial officer, has been interim chief executive since Yahoo's board ousted CEO Carol Bartz in September after she couldn't increase revenue during her two-and-a-half year tenure.
Yahoo shares were down 30 cents, or 1.8%, at $15.99 at midday Wednesday. Shares of eBay, meanwhile, dropped $1.16, or 3.7%, to $30.18.
Yahoo's shares were down about 2 percent in mid-morning trading Wednesday and eBay's shares fell 3.5 percent as analysts said the online retailer would miss the respected Internet executive. "It's probably a slight negative for Yahoo, because it makes the sale of the entire company to someone like Microsoft less likely," said Brett Harriss, an analyst at Gabelli & Co, which owns Yahoo shares.