NEW YORK (
) -- For
, following the ouster of CEO Carol Bartz, it's looking more like Plan B -- as in breakup.
With the lack of a clear successor and the limited prospects of a winning growth strategy from the newly-formed Yahoo! leadership council, a Yahoo! turnaround scenario may not be in the works.
Enter the other options.
To investors, Yahoo! is a
that could have more value if they're decoupled from the original, stumbling Internet portal operation.
"There is likely something more strategic and structural involved, and that would have a more positive effect on Yahoo! shares," JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a note Wednesday.
One scenario would involve Yahoo!'s sale of its 43% stake in
, one of China's biggest online businesses. A sale of Yahoo! Japan would also fit the strategy. And ultimately, the core U.S. Yahoo! business could then be
The presumed unwinding of the businesses would probably involve a group or groups of private equity investors that could take over Yahoo.com and either manage it as a standalone business or broker a deal with some other player like AOL, say analysts.
"For private equity investors to get to the core Yahoo! Business -- the part that can generate solid free cash flow and potentially be levered up -- they would likely need to find a strategic party for the Asian assets," Anmuth wrote.
Yahoo! didn't reach these dire conditions without a fight.
In 2008, investor
pushed for Yahoo! to break up or get bought by
. Co-founder Jerry Yang famously fought a $31-a-share takeover offer from Microsoft and instead, hired Bartz to put together a search outsourcing deal with Microsoft.
All the distraction over the company's control, however, certainly didn't help Yahoo! maneuver into hot new markets like mobile Internet and social media.
Yahoo!'s Plan A might be to make up for lost time and gain some footing in social or mobile, but the Street sees a quicker payoff in Plan B.
At midday Wednesday, Yahoo shares were up 4.8% to $13.53.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: email@example.com.Follow Scott on Twitter at MoritzDispatch