Yahoo reports loss but beats expectations

Yahoo reports loss but beats expectationsSan Francisco - Troubled internet pioneer Yahoo swung to a quarterly loss Tuesday because of severance pay and write downs on its European properties.

Despite recording a 303-million-dollar loss in the fourth quarter, the company's results beat expectations as its revenues and operating profit held up well in the dire economic climate.

The Silicon Valley company, which is struggling to compete with Google and Microsoft in its internet advertising core business, recorded revenue of 1.8 billion dollars in the three-month period, compared to 1.83 billion dollars in the year-ago quarter. The company's loss of 303 million dollars compared to a profit of 206 million dollars last year, and included a 108-million-dollar restructuring charge related to layoffs and a 238-million-dollar goodwill impairment charge.

Yahoo said it expects first-quarter gross sales in the range of 1.52 billion dollars to 1.72 billion dollars, which would be down from 1.82 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2008. The company declined to offer full-year earnings guidance due to uncertain economic conditions.

"We have work to do, but I am excited by Yahoo's opportunities and encouraged by the tremendous innovation and momentum I've seen since joining the company as CEO," Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz said in a statement.

Tuesday's results were the first since she took over from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, who was widely panned for rejecting a lucrative takeover offer last year from software giant Microsoft.

The two companies are now seen as likely to revive a smaller deal, which could see Yahoo sell its search business to Microsoft. Bartz refused to be drawn on the likelihood of such an arrangement.

"It is my job to make sure that as a company we look at anything that makes sense long term for the company and creates shareholder value," Bartz said Tuesday in a conference call with analysts. "So, yes, everything is on the table. But this is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens." (dpa)

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