Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) analysts are largely divided on Carol Bartz. Here’s are snippets from initial analyst reports from companies that follow Yahoo:
— BernsteinResearch’s Jeff Lindsay (Pessimistic): The choice of Bartz as Yahoo’s CEO is “uninspiring.” That explains why, after a brief blip, Yahoo stock fell in normal trading to just below $12. Most likely, she’s just “keeping the seat warm” until a deal is done with Microsoft.” Lindsay hopes that a full acquisition is being considered and not just a sell-off of the search business. If a full sale is not being contemplated, then Bartz is simply the wrong person for the job: she has no consumer or ad business background, no direct international management experience and no M&A expertise. In all, she will need several months of on the job training before she can deliver a credible strategy to move Yahoo forward.
More from Needham’s Mark May and UBS’ Bejamin Schachter after the jump…
— Needham’s Mark May (Favorable): Initial reaction is that Bartz is a good choice because of her proven track record running a public company with a tech background and a good relationship with industry counterparts, investors and analysts. Based on conversations and presentations with Bartz over the years, May says “she not only shows great leadership qualities, but is thoughtful and passionate about a number of topics important to Yahoo today (e.g., global ops mgmt, consumer targeting/personalization, integration w/ wireless platforms, dealing w/ unexpected corp stresses, etc.).” Ultimately, however, May is reserving judgment until Bartz reveals her strategy/vision and waiting to see if she’ll bring on a strong number two with new-media experience. Other open questions: Will Chairman Roy Bostock resigns and where is the economy headed. “As such, we are maintaining our Buy rating (upgraded on 11/20/08) and our 12-mo price target of $14.”
— UBS’ Benjamin Schachter (Guardedly Optimistic): Although investors will welcome the news, UBS was somewhat surprised to hear that Bartz was only first approached by Yahoo’s board only last month. “Vision still undetermined, but progress now at least possible… simply by putting in place a capable outsider with a strong track record, Yahoo should finally be able to make decisions on various strategic and operational choices. And while we don’t know the new direction just yet, clearly Ms. Bartz and the Board have discussed their views and walked through scenarios, including potential partnerships (MSFT, *AOL*, etc). Given the recent stagnation at Yahoo, we think almost any movement from here will be forward.”