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Markets await Yahoo CEO's turnaround plan

On Sunday, Yahoo announced the appointment of three new directors hand-picked by the company.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters/Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Investors will be tuning into Yahoo Inc.'s first-quarter earnings call late Tuesday afternoon to hear more details about CEO Scott Thompson's plans for turning around the beleaguered Internet company.

The results for the first three months of the year are expected to show that Yahoo Inc. is still being outmanoeuvred by Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. as advertisers shift more of their spending to the Web and mobile devices.

In theory, that marketing trend should be working in Yahoo's favour because the company's website draws a huge audience – about 700 million visitors per month. Instead, Yahoo's net revenue – the amount of money it keeps after paying ad commissions to its partners – has declined from the prior year in 13 consecutive quarters. The slump has weighed on Yahoo's stock, and resulted in a series of mass layoffs.

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Mr. Thompson, Yahoo's fourth fulltime CEO in less than five years, is making the deepest cuts to the company's payroll so far in an effort to save about $375-million annually. Earlier this month, Mr. Thompson unveiled a plan to jettison 2,000 employees, or 14 per cent of Yahoo's work force, and reshuffled operating divisions to sharpen the company's focus.

The earnings conference call, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, will give Mr. Thompson an opportunity to explain the reasons behind the shake-up and elaborate on how he intends to revive Yahoo's revenue growth while operating a leaner company.

One of Yahoo's largest shareholders, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, already has been raising doubts about Mr. Thompson's management methods as part of a campaign to overhaul the company's board. Loeb, whose hedge fund owns a 5.8 per cent stake in Yahoo, is trying to win board seats for himself and three allies.

The mutiny has intensified the pressure on Mr. Thompson to engineer a quick turnaround. It's been just three months since Yahoo lured Mr. Thompson away from his previous job running eBay Inc.'s online payment service, PayPal.

Analysts are predicting Yahoo's first-quarter earnings and net revenue will be roughly the same as they were at the same time last year, based on a survey by FactSet. Yahoo earned 17 cents per share on net revenue of $1.06-billion in last year's first quarter..

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