Home » Yahoo!’s (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer on Q3 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Yahoo!’s (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer on Q3 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

We’ve come really far, really fast. We’ve build a truly excellent team is up to the task. That team, our board and I have and will continue to be careful stewards of shareholders money. This team is now been in place for two years and we’ve achieve much more than many people realize. We have delivered significant shareholder value.

We’ve completed share repurchases of $7.7 billion within average price of $26.37 to buyback 24% of our outstanding shares. We’ve gained mobile market share and made mobile a material part of our business with 2014 gross revenue in excess of $1.2 billion. We build $1.25 billion business in native ads from nothing six quarters ago. We maintained search is a strong source of growth in our quarter for 11 quarters in a row. We found and invested in both organically and inorganically the key growth trends of mobile, social, native and video. And we’ve remixed and restructured our business for an improved focus, execution and excellence setting aside legacy businesses we’ve achieved 8% GAAP growth and 10% revenue ex-TAC growth.

Q3 was a strong quarter for Yahoo! However one quarter does not a year make, like any company in transition we will have our ups and down, we have in the past and we will in the future we will continue our relentless pursuit of a path to return this iconic company to greatness while always working just as hard to create shareholder value. And now, I like to hand it over to Ken who will discuss our financial results in further detail.

Ken Goldman – Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Marissa and thanks to all of you for joining us today. We are in the midst of a comprehensive transformation of the business. There is clear momentum and I have full faith that we continue to create value for shareholders. It’s been two years since I joined Yahoo!, this represents interestingly my ninth earnings call as a CFO, so like most I wanted to take a step back and quickly highlight on the many areas of progress we have made as a company, as a management team.

We also recognize that much work remains to be done and I am confident that we are up to the challenge. So let me summarize with the status update for the first two years. And I will cover five main points. First on capital allocation. I have said before there were good stores of capital, let me expand on that. Since July of 2012, we have been aggressively buying back our stock. We have repurchased 293 million shares totaling $7.7 billion or representing 24% of the Q3 2012 share base at an average price of $26.37.

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These aggressive repurchases were also another way for us to capture some of the upside in the all above evaluation over this time period, given our sale of half of our position in 2012. As a part of these buybacks we entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement in September as we brought back 23.5 million shares for $933 million with final settlement completed in October. While we were returning nearly 8 billion to shareholders we also spent 1.6 billion in M&A primarily for two operating companies and smaller others to accelerate our development efforts.

We allocate nearly five times in a month and return of capital to shareholders. In summary, compared to the $3 billion we committed to return to shareholders in September of 2012, this team has significantly over delivered on that promise of capital return. Second, shareholder value, we were opportunistic in identifying market conditions to raise $1.4 billion in convertible debt late last year with very attractive terms including a zero coupon interest rate. We realized $482 million through timely hedges on Japanese Yen, hedging our balance sheet investment of Yahoo! Japan to the benefit of shareholders.

And cummatively over this period, we have monetized patents and IP for total cash value of approximately $540 million which will be realized over a number of years. These transactions provide even more capital for potential share holder return, investment in our core business to drive value for shareholders. And of course there is Alibaba. Though committed by a prior government to sell shares and IPO we twice proactively requested and achieved a lower number of shares to be sold in the IPO, ultimately ending up at a 140 million shares down from the original 262 million which translates as Marissa said to roughly $2.2 billion of additional pre tax value.

This not only allowed us to take advantage of perspective gains in the Alibaba stock value in excess to the IPO price but also any potential tax strategies we may pursue. As part of the IPO we entered into a one year lock up agreement for our remaining Alibaba shares. As Marissa noted, there are limitations of what we can disclose in the short term, however, I am optimistic about the promising structures we are working on with our financial advisors. To sum up, we have repeatedly shut out, equated and delivered enormous value to our shareholders.

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Third, free cash. Once again, we generated a strong free cash flow over $212 million in Q3. Since July of 2012, we have generated a total of 2.4 billion of free cash flow, which would suggest for cash tax payment of 2.3 billion related to the sale of Alibaba group shares in Q3 of 2012. We continue to effect balance sheet working capital efficiencies such as remaining payables, payment terms and enhancing collection rates throughout the year.

We deferred an estimated 3.3 billion tax payment related to the Alibaba IPO proceeds to Q1 of next year which will result in additional interest income and a stronger balance sheet in the interim. We have continued to improve our tax planning which has resulted in lower cash tax payments for federal state and local further improving free cash flow, such that year-to-date cash excess are down two thirds from 2013.

We reduced capital expenses from historical run rates in 2013 and 2014 by introducing stronger controls for our capital spend. Fourth, managing expenses. Management and cost structure is important to us and as with capital return as we receive continuous intention. We have thoughtfully managed our cost structures, we identified opportunities for improvements. Initially we increased costs to support improvement in the work place environment for our employees consistent with peer companies, while enhancing our conservative expense capitalization policies. We have locked value in our IPO assets with patent sales and licensing programs, they have resulted in a $143 million in total cost benefits. This also resulted in transaction compared to license fee revenue of approximately $40 million to be recognized over several years.

We early on, revised the company’s global approval matrix to more vigorously cover expenses, headcount, capital and contracts. For example, our review for capital spending is leading to low depreciation costs. We also improved other management processes such as instituting quarterly goals and more disciplined employee performance reviews.

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