And to think what they could’ve gotten from Microsoft… Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), whose stock continues to languish, has hired Bain & Co. to help it “(explore) ways to streamline our processes and bring new agility and efficiency to how we work as an organization.” in the words of spokesman Brad Williams, who spoke to Bloomberg. He says it was premature to speculate on whether the company would in fact have layoffs, but that’s often what the word “streamline” means. Valleywag has a copy of a letter sent out by Jerry Yang, in which he talks about the “great progress” the company has made, the challenges it faces in light of the economy, and the need to “get fit.” Kara Swisher has also reported that top brass is telling employees about likely layoffs. So barring some massive misreading of the tea leaves, it looks like Yahoo will soon face cutbacks. The news comes just as the board reportedly authorized merger talks with AOL (NYSE: TWX). While such a combination would likely be talked about using some lofty rhetoric about strategic synergies and whatnot — but a big part of the appeal would have to be the chance to cut costs through redundancies.