Hold Off on Yahoo! Stock, But Give New CEO Benefit of the Doubt
That was my initial reaction as well.
Twice, in the days and hours leading up to the Mayer announcement, I took Jim Cramer's side and championed a long play on YHOO, noting the time was coming for the stock to break out of its $15 range. Like Cramer, I made the call contingent on Yahoo! doing what so many people expected -- making its most recent interim CEO, Ross Levinsohn, the permanent man for the job.
As YHOO stock flirted with $16 in after-hours trading Monday, I could have patted myself on the back. I'm not quite ready to do that. I made the call for upside in a completely different context than the one that unfolded Monday afternoon. Because Levinsohn did not get the gig, I'm no longer ready to get long YHOO. At least, not this second.
That said, I have to reserve judgment on Mayer. It would be unfair to do otherwise.
I advocated for Levinsohn because it was clear based on his history, words and actions as interim CEO that he was going to aggressively position Yahoo! as the digital media company it should have been all along. Just because he did not get the job, we cannot assume that the Yahoo! board and Mayer do not agree with this strategy.In fact, the scant early and official word from Mayer does jibe with Levinsohn's vision: "I look forward to working with the Company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world."
Granted, that's one sentence from a corporate press release. But in the immediate aftermath that's part of the very little we have to go on.
Content. Personalized experiences. That sounds like a digital media direction to me.