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Yahoo! (YHOO)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

January 28, 2013 5:00 pm ET


Joon Huh

Marissa A. Mayer - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Kenneth A. Goldman - Chief Financial Officer


Anthony J. DiClemente - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Youssef H. Squali - Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., Research Division

Jason S. Helfstein - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Benjamin A. Schachter - Macquarie Research

Heath P. Terry - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Mark S. Mahaney - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Carlos Kirjner - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Douglas Anmuth - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

A. Justin Post - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Jordan Monahan - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Kenneth Sena - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

John R. Blackledge - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division

Peter Stabler - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Yahoo! Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Please note that this conference is being recorded. I will now turn the call over to Joon Huh. Mr. Huh, you may begin.

Joon Huh

Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to Yahoo!'s Fourth Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. On the call today will be Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer; and Ken Goldman, Chief Financial Officer.

Before we begin, I'd like to remind you that today's call may contain forward-looking statements concerning matters such as our strategy, product plans and our expected financial and operational performance, as well as our investment priorities, stock repurchases and expectations for growth, innovation and monetization. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted in our statements and reported results should not be considered indicative of future performance. 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 10-Q filed with the SEC on November 8, 2012, as well as in the earnings release included in Exhibit 99.1 to the Form 8-K we furnished today to the SEC.

All information discussed on this call is as of today, January 28, 2013, and Yahoo! does not intend and undertakes no duty to update this information to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

On today's call, we'll also discuss non-GAAP financial measures as we talk about the company's performance. 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 will last about 30 minutes, then we'll have a brief Q&A session. And now, I'd like to turn the call over to Marissa.

Marissa A. Mayer

Thank you, Joon. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I'm excited to speak with you about our Q4 and 2012 results. It's hard to believe that the fourth quarter was only my first full quarter here at Yahoo!. I'm pleased with our results and our progress. We saw a continued stability in our financials, increased our pace of execution and refocused our efforts around product excellence, user experience and growth. The quarter was solid, with fourth quarter revenue increasing 4% year-over-year. Additionally, and more importantly, 2012 was the first growth year for the company in 4 years. While it's a modest increase, revenue grew 2% year-over-year for the first time since 2008.

We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we're seeing early positive trends, especially around our key focus areas: people and products. As I mentioned on our October call, talent is fundamental to our success. Attracting the best people to Yahoo! is critical, and we embarked on a number of initiatives to make Yahoo! the absolute best place to work.

To date, we introduced rigorous hiring protocols, quarterly performance reviews for all employees, aggressive quarterly and annual goals for the company, for teams and for individuals, and new product readiness process for launches, internal feedback tools for new products, smartphones and higher-performance laptops for all employees, free food worldwide, an employee-driven system for breaking down bureaucracy, as well as a weekly all-hands meeting to communicate transparently, accountably and efficiently on the most important issues facing the company.

It's been an incredibly busy 6 months. There's basically been a new major initiative every other week. These efforts have been executed with incredible speed and have achieved tremendous transformation within the company. Each initiative has a specific purpose and goal. To offer an illustration, Mobile is incredibly important to our strategy. Each employee having a smartphone helps them form the insights and understandings that they need to see innovative opportunities for our products. Here are a few more examples of progress achieved through these initiatives.

In Q4, with our process to break down process and bureaucracy, we resolved 385 of the highest priority obstacles that our employees identified to us, taking Yahoo! further down the path to becoming the absolute best place to work.

Our efforts to improve Yahoo!'s work environment are already generating response in the talent arena. We're seeing significantly lower attrition of Yahoo!s globally, especially among our highest-performing talent. We're also seeing a marked increase in the volume and quality of people applying to join Yahoo!.

In November, through our company-wide survey, 92% of employees provided feedback. While there were many signs of increasing momentum, the most notable is that employee confidence in the future of Yahoo!'s business rose 32%. Today, 95% [ph] of Yahoo!s are optimistic about the company's future. According to benchmark data across industries, this type of rising confidence in such a short period of time is unprecedented for any company.

Now more specifically on people, we've continued to round out our world-class leadership and advisory team. In December, we announced Max Levchin is joining our board, which is a big win for Yahoo!. Max is one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in our industry and someone I've admired throughout my career. He has a string of successes with the companies he's founded and invested in, including Slide, PayPal and Yelp. I've had the pleasure of working with Max in the past, and his sense for technical excellence and product design will be a tremendous asset to Yahoo!.

Recruiting expert Sandy Gould also recently joined Yahoo! as our Senior Vice President of talent acquisition. Sandy will amplify our efforts to attract and retain great employees and will also help us build our associate program for recent college graduates.

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