Jerry Yang Steps Down As Yahoo! CEO, Share Price Shoots Up

Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo, has stepped down as the CEO of the beleaguered internet company and has been widely criticised for not allowing Microsoft to buy the company back in February after an offer of $33 was made.

Yahoo shares are up nearly 10 percent at the time of writing.

Yesterday, Yahoo's shares closed at $10.63, less than a third of that price, valuing the company at $14.73 billion, a relative bargain given the size and importance of Yahoo in the global internet ecosystem.

The company's net income is in free fall, down 64 percent since 2007 on the back of a battered US economy and the company's market capitalisation has shrunk by more than $20 billion

News of Yang's exit prompted a rally for Yahoo's share prices as commentators and analysts predict that a new, pro-acquisition CEO, could be chosen in the next 3 months which would ultimately see Microsoft take over Yahoo.

Yang himself acknowledged at the recent Web 2.0 conference that it wouldn't be a bad idea for Microsoft to buy Yahoo, a comment that probably sealed his fate. Microsoft later rejected Yang's subliminal "come-get-me" messages.

And in an interesting twist, two ex-Microsoft employees, ex-Microsoft online and Windows head honcho Kevin Johnson and Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of Microsoft's Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, are amongst the favourites to replace Yang at the helm.

But Microsoft could be one of many suitors that could acquire Apple. Apart from Google and the Redmond giants, Apple and even News Corp could play a significant role in Yahoo's future.

The company has also been hit hard by Google's decision to end their advertising partnership earlier this month, a break-up that's likely to cost up to $800 million per annum.

Yahoo! chairman, Roy bostock has hired executive search firm, Heidrick & Struggles, to look for both internal and external candidates.

Yang will still remain at Yahoo to oversee the company's global strategy and to, in his own words, "help Yahoo! realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation."

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