Market Insider

Yahoo stock downgraded amid uncertainty ahead of earnings

Marissa Mayer
Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As Yahoo prepares to sell to the highest bidder in the midst of earning season, one firm doubts that potential buyers can reverse the company's decline.

Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group downgraded Yahoo's stock from "buy" to "hold" on Monday, citing illiquidity and uncertainty as the fate of the core business — and a stake in Alibaba — remain unclear. Meanwhile, rivals Facebook and Google will become more dominant in the digital advertising space, Wieser wrote.

"Yahoo – which peaked at around 20 percent share of global digital advertising between 2004 and 2006 – has around 3 percent share and falling," Wieser wrote.

Shares of Yahoo fell as much as 1 percent in pre-market trading Monday, though they closed about 0.6 percent higher. The Nasdaq also rose about 0.6 percent.

Amid shareholder pressure, Yahoo is exploring strategic options, including the sale of its internet business. The final selection of bids for the core business is expected around July 18, according to Recode, with bids ranging from $3.5 billion to over $5 billion, depending on what is included.

Pivotal values the business at $3.5 billion, excluding cash. Yahoo is also expected to report earnings in mid-July.

Yahoo declined to comment, citing a required quiet period before its earnings report.