Yahoo has announced that it will cut another 15 percent of its workforce in an effort to balance the books after a huge $4.5bn write-down of assets. The board also hinted at the possibility of selling the company, should the right offer come along.
The plans were announced during a strategy update by CEO Marissa Mayer. The cuts will take place at offices in Dubai, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Milan, and are expected to save $400m a year.
Yahoo said that the move will leave the company with 9,000 employees worldwide and under 1,000 contractors. The firm has shrunk its employee headcount by 42 percent since 2012.
Yahoo was forced into the decision after having to take a $4.5bn write-down of assets, including the Tumblr blogging platform that cost the firm $1bn in 2013.
“We concluded that the carrying value of our US and Canada, Europe, Latin America and Tumblr reporting units exceeded their respective estimated fair values,” Yahoo said in the financial release.
This write-down wiped out any hope of Yahoo making a profit in 2015, and the company posted a loss of more than the full value of the write-down at $4.74bn.
Yahoo also announced plans to exit legacy products, including Games and Smart TV, which "have not met growth expectations", and to focus its search offering on mobile platforms where it thinks more value can be derived.
"The company will shift most of the resources in this area toward more forward-leaning mobile search investments, positioning it to redefine search for mobile devices, which will help drive sustainable long-term growth and differentiation," the firm said.
Mayer attempted to put a positive spin on the job cuts and write-downs by claiming that a focus on 'Mavens' (mobile, video, native and social) is paying dividends.
"The plan announced today builds from that achievement and will dramatically brighten our future and improve our competitiveness and attractiveness to users, advertisers and partners.”
However, Yahoo chairman Maynard Webb said that the company would consider other ways to improve its position, tacitly acknowledging that a sale could be on the cards if the right offer came along.
“The board also believes that exploring additional strategic alternatives, in parallel to the execution of the management plan, is in the best interests of our shareholders," he said.
Whether anyone would be interested in Yahoo given its current state remains to be seen. It's certainly a far cry from the heady days of 2008 when Yahoo was bullish enough to turn down a $44bn takeover offer from Microsoft.
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