NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As she approaches her third anniversary as chief executive of Yahoo! (YHOO), Marissa Mayer is facing a situation similar to that encountered by many professional sports coaches: putting a consistently winning team on the field now that the honeymoon period is over.
From an investment perspective, investors would find it hard to argue with Mayer's performance. Since July 17, 2012, the day Mayer started as Yahoo!'s CEO, the share price has climbed 158%, to trade at about $40.50 a share on Tuesday. In September 2014, Mayer also earned the favor of Yahoo! shareholders in overseeing the sale of 140 million shares it owned in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) during its IPO. The Alibaba IPO netted Yahoo! $9.4 billion and Yahoo! still owns roughly a 15% stake in Alibaba that's valued at about $33 billion.
"She's clearly made the right moves for the stock, with the Alibaba sell-off benefiting Yahoo! shareholders," said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Under Mayer's leadership, Yahoo! hasn't shied away from making a big splash. In 2013, Yahoo! bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash and stock. And in November 2014, the company acquired programmatic video-advertising company BrightRoll for $640 million.
The company also brought in noted tech journalist David Pogue to lead its Yahoo! Tech site, and this week Yahoo! agreed to give global news anchor Katie Couric a pay increase from $6 million to $10 million, according to news reports. The company picked up a new season of the show Community for its Yahoo! Screen site after the cult comedy was cancelled by Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC. Yahoo! also touts that it has more than 1 billion monthly users of its sites, making it one of the most popular online destinations.
"We may not be the biggest technology company, but we're the biggest technology company that understands media," Mayer said at the Bloomberg Tech 2015 Conference on Tuesday. "We may not be the biggest media company, but we're the biggest media company that gets tech."