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Value of Yahoo CEO's stake sinks

January 31, 2008|From Bloomberg News

Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang has lost about a half-billion dollars on paper after failing to regain investor confidence since taking over as the Internet company's chief executive in June.

Yang, the fifth-biggest Yahoo shareholder with about 4% of its shares outstanding, has seen the value of his stake sink by about a third to $1 billion in the last seven months.

Shares of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo sank $1.76, or 8.5%, to $19.05 on Wednesday after the company late Tuesday reported an eighth straight quarter of declining profit, announced 1,000 job cuts and issued a sales forecast that fell short of analysts' expectations.

Yang and his co-founder, David Filo, joined the billionaire ranks in 1999, when the technology boom lifted Yahoo shares more than threefold. Forbes magazine put the duo's worth at about $4 billion each before the stock market crashed in 2000, wiping out 86% of Yahoo's value. Last year, Yang was tied for 261st on the Forbes list of richest Americans published in September, with a net worth of $1.9 billion.

Yang, now 39, and Filo, 41, started Yahoo in 1995 when they were graduate students at Stanford University. Revenue surged from $20 million in 1996 to more than $1 billion four years later.

Although its revenue has climbed every year since 2002, Yahoo has failed to keep pace with growth at Google Inc., which is almost twice as big with more than $11 billion in annual sales.

Even as his net worth fell, Yang was the 25th most generous American last year in terms of charity, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. He gave $75 million to Stanford for new environmental and medical-instruction buildings.

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