Four quarters into Marissa Mayer's tenure as CEO at Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), and we have yet to see anything but positive earnings surprises. Yahoo brought in EPS of 30 cents (Zacks subtracts stock-based compensation from our earnings numbers) on $1070 million (minus traffic acquisition costs, or TAC) in revenues for the second quarter.
What this amounts to is a miss on the top line (we had expected revenues of $1087 million in the quarter) and a 4-cent beat on the bottom line. So it's a 15% positive earnings surprise, even though revenues were down a bit.
Obviously, Yahoo's done a lot of heavy lifting in the past year, both buying -- companies like Tumblr, Bignoggins and other mobile apps and gaming companies -- and selling -- $6+ million in shares of its Chinese Internet partner Alibaba. The windfall from the Alibaba sale (Yahoo still owns a 20% stake in the company) was given back to shareholders, but even with these major acquisition plays Yahoo still sits on $4.8 billion in cash.
Investors and analysts alike have been very high on the company, with YHOO shares having shot up 70% since Mayer took the helm. Yahoo currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and obviously Mayer herself is receiving plenty of support, especially considering the... shall we say "rather low bar" set by the previous 3 CEOs at the company.
Yahoo certainly has had a colorful past few years. Who remembers Scott Thompson's falsified bio? Carol Bartz's "f-bombs"? The media did not treat Yahoo kindly over this time period, when companies like Facebook (FB) were able to take market share. But with the ship apparently righted -- mobile app exposure is obviously a big part of the web industry, and Yahoo appears to hold a nice hand right now -- YHOO shares have climbed back up from the nether-regions of $12 and change, and are now at levels not seen since Jerry Yang screwed up that Microsoft (MSFT) deal.
The question remains whether execution of creating synergies with all its new properties will go smoothly, but Yahoo is clearly in a better place than it was a year ago. Missing estimates on the revenue side is not terrific news, but it's likely not anything an Alibaba IPO can't fix. As for now, Marissa Mayer's honeymoon with her company and the media continues.
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