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How Scott Thompson Can Monetize Yahoo! (Update 1)

The potential for Yahoo! to get into into the micro-payment business was also brought up yesterday by analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research, who believes it could be a boon for the company.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Youssef Squali, however, downgraded the stock from buy to hold and wrote that the proceeds from the sale of the Asian assets could be used for investments and mergers, as opposed to being returned to shareholders.

Stifel Nicolaus speculated on the potential acquisitions in a research note, citing WebMD (WBMD - Get Report), OpenTable (OPEN) and The Weather Channel as possible targets.

Third Point's Dan Loeb may have something to say about the use of the cash Yahoo! receives from any Asian sale. Loeb, who owns 5.2% of the stock, has previously been very critical of the company, having called out the board of directors, and asked for the resignation of co-founder Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock.

"[Scott Thompson's] appointment is somewhat puzzling to us given Yahoo!'s effort in the last few years to become more of 'media and content' than a 'pure technology' company," noted Jefferies & Company analyst Youssef Squali, in a research note. "Scott's appointment is indicative perhaps of a change of direction for Yahoo! as it tries to 'return to the forefront of technology innovation', as Scott explained on [Wednesday's] conference. call."

Squali has an $18 price target on Yahoo!'s shares.

Yahoo! shares were lower Thursday, off 1.39% to $15.56.

For more on Yahoo! shares, see Daniel Loeb's Third Point portfolio.

Interested in more on Yahoo!? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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