Yahoo! announced plans to go public again. The search engine disappeared from the radar after it lost all its users due to the rise of Google. Out of the blue, the CEO is now coming out with positive news about a possible return.
According to Jim Lanzone, CEO of Yahoo!, his organization is “very profitable” and has “a great balance sheet,” writes the Financial Times. With those words, Lanzone announced that the company is looking for opportunities to soon become a publicly traded company again.
Yahoo! attracted many internet users to its search engine in its early years (1996). Later, Google took over. According to Lanzone, the search engine did remain relevant all these years for users searching for financial, sports or news topics. According to him, the search engine is an established name which people trust: “people’s trusted guide through the digital wilderness of the Internet. Whether it’s finance, sports or news, that’s still what we do, and why all these years later we’re number one or number two in all these important categories.”
Not that he would deny that difficult years did pass for the search engine: “Although the company has struggled at different points in time, we still have a lot of traffic and we have our best days ahead of us in terms of products.”
We know Google as a search engine with a minimalist design that serves us only with a search bar. Yahoo! in the late 1990s wanted to get rid of this look and changed to an information page, which included weather, news and stock market information in addition to a search bar.
Users turned out not to like the search engine’s extra service so much and opted en masse for Google. However, it did not lose a steady base of fans, as in 2010 the search engine still served billions of users. In 2012, Marissa Mayer became CEO of the company, for which she left her position as an executive and spokesperson at top competitor Google.
Four years later, it appeared it was time to sell off. Verizon, an American telecom operator, applied and bought the whole thing for $4.8 billion. As a result, Yahoo! went up in smoke as a brand name and was bundled under ‘Oath’. A serious setback for the search engine, which rejected a takeover bid from Microsoft earlier on in 2008. The times were clearly more favorable in 2008, as Microsoft offered $47 billion.
A few years later, the telecom operator shelved its plans to conquer the media landscape. In 2021, it was up for sale again and Apollo Global Management, a private equity fund, was able to buy it for $5 billion. This fund decided to put Yahoo! back on its own feet and brought in Lanzone, former CEO of Tinder, to take on the plan.
Glory days past or future?
Now the CEO’s interview with the financial outlet suddenly comes out of the blue. Lanzone’s sudden appearance in the media may therefore be a ploy to test the market’s enthusiasm for an IPO of Yahoo! A date or financial figures on the whole idea are conspicuously absent from the entire appearance.
At least according to the CEO, there is perspective for the company in terms of acquisitions. This time Yahoo! is not being acquired as a brand, but rather the search engine is just gobbling up other companies in its services. “We will aggressively look for these opportunities,” he said.
Will it be Yah-i! or Ya-bye! for the search engine? In any case, Yahoo! is not the only browser looking to ramp up its competition with Google. DuckDuckGo recently brought its browser to Windows to serve a larger audience.