Yahoo names former eBay executive as new chief

The struggling internet firm Yahoo has recruited Scott Thompson, a senior executive from the online auction firm eBay, to be its new chief executive.

His first task will be to examine Yahoo's future amid reports that the Chinese group Alibaba and private equity firms could make a takeover bid. Yahoo has been in limbo for four months since Carol Bartz was fired after barely two years as the erstwhile internet giant fell behind rivals such as Google, Facebook and Apple.

Mr Thompson has been president of eBay's payments arm, PayPal, and was formerly chief information officer at Barclays Global Investors.

Roy Bostock, Yahoo's chairman, said Mr Thompson will help Yahoo to continue its "strategic review process", which could include "specific investments or dispositions of assets".

Analysts said Mr Thompson's appointment made it less likely that Yahoo would be sold, and the shares fell 2 per cent.

Yahoo has looked at selling its 40 per cent stake in Alibaba to the Chinese group and its 35 per cent holding in Yahoo Japan, but Alibaba is also thought to be examining a bid for all of Yahoo. US private-equity firms and Microsoft have also looked at a possible bid for Yahoo in the past.

Some Yahoo investors have called for a break-up of the $20bn company to increase shareholder value.

Jordan Rohan, an analyst at the US securities firm Stifel Nicolaus, said: "The sale of the Asian assets is what happens first, and what happens afterwards is just a question of how they deploy the cash they get from the sale."

Mr Thompson acknowledged that Yahoo needs to change, saying: "Clearly, speed is important but we will attack both the opportunity ahead and the competitive challenges with an appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness."

Yahoo still claims to reach more than 700 million users of services such as search and email.

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