Yahoo ready to sell Hot Jobs

Three months into her stint at the head of Yahoo, Carol Bartz is hastening her drive to streamline operations by disposing of ancillary businesses.

The Silicon Valley company is seeking buyers for the HotJobs employment site, people familiar with the company’s plans said on Wednesday, adding that other acquisitions could follow HotJobs out of the door. Yahoo struck a deal to buy the site in 2001 for $436m in cash and stock.

Yahoo could spell out what other divisions are for sale when it reports earnings on Tuesday.

It is also expected to announce between 200 and 500 job cuts and some reordering of the company at levels below the senior managers Ms Bartz has installed.

The chief executive is unlikely to announce anything as dramatic as Ebay’s decision this week to spin off Skype. She has also pledged not to comment on renewed talks over a possible advertising partnership with Microsoft until a deal is reached.

It is thought, however, that next week’s announcements will give clearer guidance as to what business lines Ms Bartz believes are critical to the future of Yahoo, which continues to lose ground to Google. Those that are not considered critical, Ms Bartz believes, should be turned into cash.

HotJobs recently slipped to third in terms of monthly audience, behind CareerBuilder and Monster.com. In March, it drew 15.8m unique users, down 1 per cent from a year earlier, while the category’s audience grew 4 per cent, according to ComScore.

Still, Yahoo might win a decent price. In September, Gannett, the leading US newspaper publisher, bought just 10 per cent of CareerBuilder for $135m, a figure that included a premium because it gave Gannett majority control. CareerBuilder drew 21.6m users in March, also off 1 per cent.

Reports about HotJobs going on the block prompted some nervousness in already jittery newspaper circles because publishers of many dailies share employment adverts with HotJobs, which has helped staunch the sharp decline in the industry’s traditional classified ads sections.

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