Earnings may not be enough for Yahoo investors

Yahoo is slated to report quarterly earnings Tuesday, the day after bidding to acquire the company’s core businesses closes.

On average, analysts expect Yahoo to report earnings of 7 cents per share, down from 15 cents a share in the same quarter last year. For most investors, however, Yahoo’s quarterly results come second to any hints about the company’s potential sale.

“Monday will steal Tuesday’s show when we see who the suitors are and maybe get a preview of what they think this is worth,” said Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, in an interview with CNBC.

Earlier this week, the parent company of British newspaper the Daily Mail was added to the long list of Yahoo’s potential suitors. Other potential bidders include Verizon, CBS, InterActiveCorp and Microsoft, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the talks between the Daily Mail and Yahoo.

“Verizon by far and away is the leading bidder here,” said Robert Peck, internet equity analyst at SunTrust, in an interview with CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Monday. He expects Yahoo to sell for $6 billion to $8 billion considering its core business as well as intellectual property and real estate holdings.

Scott Kessler, internet analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, is less convinced that investors will glean any more certainty about a potential sale. Kessler said he wouldn’t be surprised if Yahoo doesn’t say a word about its suitors at all on its earnings call after the bell Tuesday.Investor optimism over the potential sale has helped push Yahoo share prices up by more than 9 percent this year, as of Friday.

Kessler’s firm on Friday downgraded Yahoo’s shares to a “hold” rating from “buy,” at least in part because of continued uncertainty, he said. Kessler’s 12-month price target on Yahoo shares is $38.

“We see the potential for related disappointment, given continuing fundamental challenges and questions about company leadership,” Kessler wrote in a research note released Friday.

In a phone interview, Kessler said, “There’s no reason for me or anyone else to be more optimistic on Yahoo’s business than we were days, weeks or months ago.”

Investors will be also looking out for signs of a possible management shake-up, Wolff said.

“[Yahoo shareholder] Starboard and some of the activists clearly want to wipe the whole slate clean,” Wolff said, referring to activist investor Starboard Value’s ongoing proxy fight with Yahoo.

Yahoo declined CNBC’s request for comment.

[Source:- CNBC]