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March 18, 2008 9:16 AM

Yahoo, justifying its 'no' to Microsoft, releases optimistic financial outlook

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Yahoo optimistic investor presentation today included this slide, which shows that the company's forecasts for revenue and cash flow growth are much higher than those of financial analysts.

Yahoo this morning publicized an optimistic investor presentation that spells out its plans to "roughly double operating cash flow over the next three years." The plan was shown to the company's board of directors in December 2007 and is being released now to support the board's determination that Microsoft's acquisition offer of $44.6 billion "substantially undervalues Yahoo."

"Yahoo!'s board of directors is continuing to evaluate all of its strategic alternatives to maximize value for Yahoo! stockholders," the company said in a press release this morning.

The company made an unusual three-year revenue forecast, noting that "our 2009 and 2010 growth is much higher than Street estimates." Yahoo expects to have 2010 revenue of $8.8 billion compared with $7.1 billion -- the mean average estimate of six major Wall Street firms that have made long-term forecasts recently.

Yahoo expects to gain $1.9 billion in revenue during the next three years from display/video advertising, and $1.4 billion in added search revenue.

Much more detail is available from the 35-page presentation itself, which Yahoo filed with the SEC.

The company also reaffirmed its financial guidance for the first quarter and full year, which it initially gave on Jan. 29, two days before Microsoft made its proposal to Yahoo's board. Yahoo expects revenue for the first quarter, excluding traffic acquisition costs, to be $1.28 billion to $1.38 billion, and for the full year to be $5.35 billion to $5.95 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expect revenue of $1.32 billion and $5.65 billion, for the quarter and year, respectively.

Yahoo's statement of confidence might douse earlier speculation that Yahoo was going to lay an egg when it reports earnings April 22, which would in turn make Microsoft's acquisition offer look even better to Yahoo shareholders.

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