Yahoo earnings: Everybody’s got questions. Will Scott Thompson have answers?

What will Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson say when the company reports earnings Tuesday afternoon? Inquiring minds, from analysts to major shareholder Third Point, want to know.

Thompson, who’s been at the helm for four months and will be presiding over his second earnings call as chief executive, is expected to talk more about his plans for the company post-layoffs and reorganization. Last week, the former PayPal president outlined his plans for Yahoo in a memo to employees, emphasizing focus on Yahoo’s consumer properties that include its media sites, plus search and email. He is also creating an e-commerce division, and has reportedly hired another former PayPal executive for that effort. The week before that, Thompson announced he would slash 2,000 jobs, or 14 percent of Yahoo’s workforce. After the announcement, reported Brandon Bailey of the Mercury News, analysts said cuts alone would not be enough to right the purple ship.

By the way, not only is Thompson responsible for turning Yahoo around, he and the company are also facing a proxy fight. (See Corporate raiders of the purple ark, the sequel: Will new search for answers at Yahoo yield different result?)

Third Point, the hedge fund that wants to put four candidates on the Sunnyvale company’s board, has 18 specific questions — some of which overlap with other common questions — it wants Thompson to answer. They include: “How does Yahoo’s proposed operating plan differ substantively from those of the last 3 CEOs”; “what happened to the cost savings that the Microsoft search agreement was expected to provide”; and “please explain why Daniel S. Loeb, as a representative of Yahoo!’s largest outside investor,  would not be a good steward of investor interests and a valuable addition to the Board.” Loeb is the CEO of Third Point, and he also would like to know when the next shareholder meeting is.

Other questions draw from new happenings, such as “provide the rationale and expectations behind the [Facebook patent] lawsuit,” as well as what seems to be an age-old question by now, such as what’s up with Yahoo’s stakes in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba.

An analyst survey expects first-quarter earnings with not much growth from the same period a year ago: profit of 17 cents a share on revenue of $1.06 billion. Shares of Yahoo are up more than 2 percent to about $15.15 as of this post, amid a generally upbeat day for the stock markets.


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