News Column

Yahoo Takes Down Iconic Sign as Asian Deals Reported

Dec 22, 2011

Yahoo has displayed its prominent position as one of the pioneers of the dot com boom with an iconic purple billboard along the approach to San Francisco's Bay Bridge since the early days of the Internet.

But in a sign of the company's waning fortunes, construction workers dismantled the landmark advert Wednesday, 12 years after it was first erected.

The billboard resembled a retro motel vacancy sign, complete with flashing lights and the slogan: "Yahoo! Where the world checks in daily."

But Yahoo has found its advertising revenue under pressure from the likes of Google and Facebook and has been under pressure to revitalize the company ever since it rejected a $47.5-billion buyout offer from Microsoft in 2008, more than double the company's current value.

The dismantling of the sign coincided with reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News that the company was considering selling its stake in Yahoo Japan and cashing in on its ownership of the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba in two complex deals that could net the ailing company up to $17 billion tax free.

The reports said that the Yahoo board will meet Thursday to discuss the complex proposal. Yahoo owns about 40 percent of Alibaba and would seek to retain a 15-percent stake in the Chinese site, netting it some $12 billion, the reports said. Its 35 percent of Yahoo Japan is estimated to be worth $5 billion.

Source: Copyright 2011 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH