Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

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Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

Q1 2009 Earnings Call

April 21, 2009 5:00 pm ET


Marta Nicols - IR

Carol Bartz - CEO

Blake Jorgensen - CFO


Spencer Wang – Credit Suisse

Christa Quarles - Thomas Weisel Partners

Ross Sandler - RBC Capital Markets

Imran Khan - JP Morgan

Sandeep Aggarwal - Collins Stewart

Jeetil Patel - Deutsche Bank Securities

Sachin Shah - ICAP

Justin Post - Merrill Lynch

Youssef Squali - Jefferies & Company

Jason Helfstein - Oppenheimer & Company

Doug Anmuth - Barclays Capital

Heath Terry - FBR Capital Markets


Marta Nichols

Thank you and good afternoon and welcome to Yahoo!'s first quarter earnings conference call. On the call today will be Carol Bartz, Chief Executive Officer, and Blake Jorgensen, Chief Financial Officer.

Before we begin, I'd like to remind you that today’s call will contain forward-looking statements concerning matters such as our expected financial performance, our expectations for the economy in general and online advertising in particular, our product plans, our cost initiatives, planned investments and corporate strategic alternatives. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted and reported results should not be considered indicative of future performance.

The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause our business and financial results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements are described in our form 10K filed with the SEC on February 27, 2009 as well as in the earnings release included as Exhibit 99.1 to the form 8K we furnished today to the SEC. All information discussed on this call is as of today, April 21, 2009 and Yahoo! does not intend and undertakes no duty to update this information to reflect future events or circumstances.

On the call today we will discuss some non-GAAP financial measures as we talk about the company's performance. These will include operating income before depreciation, amortization and stock-based compensation expense, which we will refer to as operating cash flow; revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs, which will be referred to as revenue ex-TAC; free cash flow, non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP net income per share. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP measures to the GAAP measures we consider most comparable can be found on our corporate website, info.yahoo.com, under Investor Relations.

We have prepared remarks that should last about 30 minutes. Then we'll have a brief Q&A session with Carol and Blake.

With that I'd like to turn the call over to Carol.

Carol Bartz

Thanks Marta. Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today. What an amazing and busy three months it has been since I joined Yahoo! I have learned a tremendous amount from our customers, partners, shareholders and most importantly from Yahoo!’s senior leadership and employees. I would like to share a bit about how I have been spending my time before turning the call over to Blake to discuss the quarter in more detail. Then I will talk about what has really excited me in these first three months and what I think should get you excited as well. Then we will take questions.

Starting with what I have been up to. I hit the ground running in January beginning with deep dives with our strategy and product teams on everything from our user products and advertising services to our internal structure and systems. I have also met with several very impressive individuals and teams including our industry leading sales forces in the U.S. and Europe, the exceptional talent in our engineering groups and research labs and many of our existing and potential customers and partners.

All of these conversations have been a great introduction for me and even provided some eye-opening experiences for those who have been here for awhile. The most important take-away from these conversations was the importance of having a “wow” experience for all of our users around the world. This means different things across the company. First, for our leading products it means greater investment and focus on creating and maintaining the best experience for users as they seek relevant, engaging information, content, communication tools and social environment.

In some cases it means discontinuing products that generate limited user interest or maybe improve by outsourcing with partnering. In still other instances it means meaningful changes in the advertising experience. On my first point, the best candidate for focused investment and renewed innovation are those products that generate the majority of our traffic and corresponding economic value.

These include the homepage, sports, news, finance, entertainment, mail search and mobile. Getting these products right is imperative to continuing to grow our massive user base and increase user engagement. Thus, we are focusing on three key goals to take this company forward. First, and most important, we are globalizing our platform so we can innovate more quickly in every corner of the world. That will enable our second goal; building fantastic products on top of those platforms that deeply engage our users, giving them that “wow” experience. Third, to better monetize our engaged user base we will continue to invest in industry-leading advertising platforms and services to build on our strengths in online advertising.

To help us achieve these goals in February I announced a new leadership structure. Let me touch briefly on the major changes and highlight the great team that is helping me run the company. We combined technology and products under one leader, Ari Balogh, as VP of Products and CTO. Ari’s charter is to deliver global platforms and products that enable the best user and advertiser experiences.

The newly created technology role that also reports directly to me, our SVP of Service Engineering and Operations, will focus on managing our technical infrastructure to deliver all our global products at scale with particular focus on getting the most out of our data center assets. David Dibble had joined Yahoo! in December and is leading that effort.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com