Yahoo could be for sale, Jerry Yang indicates in leaked memo

<b style="color:#900;">update</b> In memo obtained by Silicon Alley Insider, Yang appears to confirm what many people have been reporting for a while. And interim CEO Tim Morse provides a follow-up in a second e-mail.

Jim Kerstetter Staff writer, CNET News
Jim Kerstetter has been writing about the high-tech industry since the 1990s. He has been a senior editor at PC Week and a Silicon Valley correspondent at BusinessWeek. He is now senior executive editor at CNET News. He moved back to Boston because he missed the Red Sox. E-mail Jim.
Jim Kerstetter
2 min read

A leaked e-mail from Jerry Yang appears to confirm what many people have been reporting for a while: Yahoo is not above selling itself in whole or in parts.

The e-mail, obtained by Silicon Alley Insider, is largely a long, rah-rah memo for the troops. But it does have this interesting tidbit:

Our advisers are working with us to develop ideas that we will pursue proactively. At the same time, they are fielding inquiries from multiple parties that have already expressed interest in a number of potential options. We will take the time we need to select and structure the best approach for the company, its shareholders and employees.

Translation: for the right price, you're darn right we'll sell this thing -- or at least parts of it.

Oh, and the memo also indicates Yahoo is actively looking for a new CEO to replace recently departed Carol Bartz, who left with a bang in a now infamous e-mail sent from her iPad. In a final, touching coda, Yang tells employees that Yahoo can still be a rarity: an Internet company that endures. OK, that's a great idea. But Yang and Yahoo's board still should have sold out to Microsoft when Ballmer & Co. were courting them like lonely kids the day before the prom.

Read more at Business Insider.

Update, 6 p.m. PT:

The Yang e-mail was followed later in the day by a missive from interim CEO Tim Morse, who seemed intent on nipping in the bud any sort of lame-duck perception/attitude on the part of employees.

"I'm sure by now you've all seen the note from Jerry, David, and Roy," says the e-mail, which was published by Kara Swisher at AllThingsD. "I want you to know that while the board works through all of our options, CEO, staff and I have been charged to move the company forward. That means we will not be sitting still over the next few months. We are actively making decisions and taking action."

Morse combines a little whip-cracking with an attempt to soften the scuttlebutt about a possible sale:

We need a flexible, visionary plan. That's why the Board is actively looking at all the options available to put Yahoo on a strong trajectory.

That being said, while the Board makes this decision, it does not mean we are in limbo. We have to keep Yahoo moving ahead. And to do that, there are three things I need Yahoos everywhere to focus on:

  1. Speed: Emphasize quick execution and decision-making
  2. Accountability: Do what you say you're going to do--and take ownership for time to market, monetization, user engagement, quality, or whatever metric defines success for your team
  3. Purpose: Rally behind our mission and purpose: creating deeply personal digital experiences.

Oh, and he concludes with a sympathetic sign-off:

Have a good weekend.