SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz put a “for sale” sign on HotJobs on Tuesday, saying Yahoo was open to selling the non-core unit for the right price even though an improving economy could help its prospects.
Rates for Yahoo’s (NASDAQ: YHOO) premium online display ads were continuing to pick up after being pressured during the economic recession and the ad spending slump, Bartz also said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York.
But Yahoo is aggressively moving to improve the money it generates on its Internet search ads, Bartz said, noting that Google was still ahead on revenue per search.
“We’re not going to match Google,” Bartz said, noting the company would focus on achieving Yahoo-specific goals for revenue per search.
Bartz, who took over as CEO in January, has shut down numerous properties deemed nonessential to the company’s core strategy as it seeks to cut costs, revive revenue growth and compete with Internet companies such as Google, Microsoft and new social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter.
In July, Bartz struck a deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) that will allow the software company to provide the back-end technology for Yahoo’s search engine in a 10-year deal Yahoo said will save roughly $425 million in operating expenses.
In September, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that Yahoo put HotJobs as well as the Yahoo Small Business property on the auction block and was seeking $350 million to $500 million for the latter, according to one of the sources.
“We’ve said all along it’s not strategic to the company, so if we got a decent price we’d do something,” Bartz told investors at the conference when asked about the future of HotJobs.
Early in the year she said it was up for examination.
Bartz noted on Tuesday that the economic downturn had decreased the job openings posted by employers on HotJobs, but hopefully, the improving economy might reverse the trend.
She also said Yahoo would not likely seek to strike new, “mega” distribution deals with PC makers that gave the Yahoo search engine prominent placement and promotion on newly sold computers.
“Those rarely made money,” Bartz said of the deals.