MarketWatch First Take
Yahoo's Mayer skips the earnings call7/17/12 6:53 PM ET (MarketWatch)
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Marissa Mayer, Yahoo Inc.'s new chief executive, decided not to take part in the company's earnings call on her first day on the job, but that didn't stop analysts from trying to glean hints at how she will answer the question "What is Yahoo?"
Yahoo (YHOO) Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse also told analysts that the Web portal would not give financial guidance for the third quarter, while Mayer gets acclimated to her new job. "We haven't discussed guidance with her yet," he said. Read about Yahoo's second-quarter results.
When asked for any tips that might help analysts in their models, Morse said the comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday gave him pause. Read more about Bernanke's comments to Congress.
"The Fed comments were a little cool," he added, noting that previous third quarters for Yahoo were typically "flattish."
As the company's surprise new leader loomed over the call in her absence, analysts tried to get glimmers of her future strategy, with some clearly hoping that Yahoo could eventually forge a search deal with her former employer
In response to a question, Morse explained that five years from when the Microsoft deal was signed, there is a threshold for revenue per search. "After five years, there is an RPS threshold," he said. "If we are not at that, then there is an out." Yahoo and Microsoft signed their pact in July 2009.
One analyst tried to glean whether Mayer will be more focused on developing more new products, while interim chief Ross Levinsohn had been developing new media deals for Yahoo.
"Our new CEO brings a strong tech background, but we also have exceptional and media expertise as well," according to the finance chief. "It's a powerful combination when we get it right."
Investors want Mayer to be the chief executive that helps Yahoo get it right.