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Tech Times | What would you do without your Yahoo? - Avid users fret as decision looms

Published:Monday | July 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Yahoo of the future is likely to look very different than today - an unnerving thought for some of the one billion users that rely on core Yahoo web properties like Mail and Sports.

These users, at the heart of the assets Yahoo is trying to sell for an estimated $5 billion to $8 billion, generally could care less about Yahoo's market cap or the boardroom drama that's led to this sale.

But they have other concerns - for Mike Rhode of Arlington, Virginia, about 25,000. That's how many photos the 51-year-old archivist has on Flickr, the photo-sharing service that Yahoo acquired in 2005.

If somehow that site should be shuttered or tinkered with as a result of Yahoo's sale, it "would be a serious shot in the ribs," he said.

Rhode is among the one billion people globally who use one of Yahoo's properties each month. Flickr alone has 113 million unique users, Yahoo says.

Even more - 250 million - use Yahoo Mail monthly. Tens of millions use Yahoo Fantasy Sports. On Yahoo Finance, 81 million unique visitors use the service every month.

Those content areas, plus others such as Tumblr and fashion site Polyvore, are among the assets Yahoo is taking offers for, along with its advertising and search businesses, real estate, and other intellectual property.

Some are likely to bite the dust.




"There's no reason a new owner would have to pay to maintain them if they are not profitable," said Columbia Business School professor and corporate strategy expert Rita McGrath. "What the new owner is likely to do is do a very hard-nosed look at where the contribution margin is coming from each of these properties and where the revenue is coming from, and anything that is out of line with each other would be a candidate for a second look."

Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo may reference the bidding process at its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday. But an outcome isn't expected until next month. Yahoo began soliciting bids in mid-April, pressured by activist shareholders dismayed with the drop in Yahoo's stock and little progress shown in CEO Marissa Mayer's four-year turnaround plan.