By Jon Swartz, Senior Writer, USA TODAY, San Francisco: Another day, another dollop of drama. It’s that way with Yahoo (YHOO), whose board of directors on Wednesday scrapped plans to spin off Alibaba — the company cash cow — and create a new company. Instead, Yahoo will spin off its core business into a new company.
“In 2016, we will tighten our focus and prioritize investments to drive profitability and long-term growth,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in a statement. “A separation from our Alibaba stake, via the reverse spin, will provide more transparency into the value of Yahoo’s business.”
Under Yahoo’s old plan, the new company Aabaco would have been comprised of only Yahoo’s 15% stake in Alibaba, valued at $30 billion or more. Now, Yahoo plans to create a new company that is comprised of all of Yahoo’s assets and liabilities other than the Alibaba stake. Think Alphabet, without the revenue and market dominance.
The batting average for successful spin-offs isn’t sterling: About four in 10 are not profitable, according to a study by The Edge Consulting Group and Deloitte last year (get full report). A former Yahoo official, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company, said the reverse spin and possible sale of core Internet assets amounts to a stop-gap measure to buy Mayer time.