Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Shares Drop on AOL Non-Deal: Here’s Why and What That Means

Today, BoomTown will be spending the whole day–complete with lunch!–at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ to visit various and sundry execs in charge of a wide range of products.

Why? Well, as interested as I am in all of Yahoo’s always messy corporate and stock machinations, it’s just as important to get a handle on exactly what actual products and services the company is working on to get out of its quandary.

That’s important because Yahoo’s prospects have gotten so bogged down of late that even the possibility of an overpriced deal to buy Time Warner (TWX) online unit AOL, including its access business, whacked its stock yesterday.

Yahoo (YHOO) shares dropped to $12.65 yesterday, down 84 cent or 6.2 percent, partly due to the weaker market, but also because of the rumor that Yahoo was possibly going to pay too much for AOL.

That too much would be $8 to $10 billion.

The report by Silicon Alley Insider’s Henry Blodget, which included an odd Yahoo-labeled 18-wheeler semi-truck sighted near AOL, turned out to be not so solid and was later refuted by Blodget himself.

Nonetheless, it was a point well taken from the bad reaction that few think a merger is a good idea at anything other than low, low prices.

Why? Well, for one, the uncertain immediate future for the graphical ad business–big earners at AOL and Yahoo–going forward.

Other key issues: AOL’s growing weakness. Its revenue (half of which comes from the ISP business, by the way) and also its operating income are down.

Even the less stellar performance of Yahoo of late looks good in comparison.

Of course, the pair are still talking in that lugubrious way, as has been reported previously here.

And, if forced to bet, I would suspect there will be a deal done eventually.

But, as they say, god–or the devil, as the case may be–is in the details.

Until then, as I hope to see today at Yahoo, both it and AOL have got to get busy making their standalone businesses shine a lot better than they do now.