Cramer: Not the Time to Bet Against Mayer
NEW YORK (Real Money) -- It's easy right now to get disillusioned with Yahoo! (YHOO). The last thing you ever want to hear from a company is that numbers have to be taken down. But it sure isn't for lack of trying.
CEO Marissa Mayer has done an amazing job in one year's work. She inherited a company with terrible morale -- a company that was way off course and losing market share and relevancy to Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB).
But she had one thing going for her: the balance sheet. It was pristine. It was better than that, actually. It was brimming with cash.
Pretty much everything, though, was going the wrong way. In a world where tech and the Internet are precisely at the point when the word "obsolete" has turned into its most violent and disruptive form of verb, Yahoo was about to be "obsoleted."
So, if the company had to guide down, what's so amazing about what Mayer has done? I think it is threefold:
1. She's turned around declining page views. Unless you have been in this game for a while, you have no idea how hard that is to do. She's doing it via improved content, including some expensive content -- more on that in a moment -- as well as tack-on, acquisitions and some improvement in the experience. This is the kind of improvement we are more used to seeing from her predecessor company, Google, than from this one.
2. For ages, Yahoo was infamous for losing any employees who were any good. She has brought down the attrition rate by 59%, and 12% of the people whom she has hired are "boomerangs" -- typically talented, disaffected people who want back in because they've heard good things about what Mayer is doing. That's even as we know she promulgated "no right to work" rules -- meaning you had to physically show up to keep your job. Yep, there were a lot of mail-it-inners at the company 366 days ago. There aren't anymore.
3. She drastically reoriented the company toward mobile. If you think Facebook didn't have a good mobile strategy a year ago, consider that Yahoo didn't even have many engineers associated with mobile. "Dozens" was the word she used. Now there are hundreds: a sixfold increase.