Having failed at the task for which she was hired (with Dan Loeb's help) some five years ago, namely turning Yahoo around, and set to terminate her relationship with Yahoo after it is fully consumed by Verizon in a few months, there was speculation what if any golden, or lead, parachute Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer would receive. The answer: the soon to be former YHOO Chief Executive is set to make at least $186 million as a result of the internet company’s sale of its core business to Verizon Communications Inc., according to securities filings, the WSJ reported.
The staggering figure is over seven times greater than the $23 million "golden parachute" Yahoo said last month that Mayer would receive as part of her planned departure from what’s left of the company after the sale to Verizon. Yahoo also said that Ms. Mayer held nearly 2.9 million stock options valued at $56.8 million as of early March. Somehow, an additional $100 million slipped through thre cracks.
We are not the only ones who are skeptical of Mayer's tenure: as WSJ puts it, "the hefty pay out comes despite Ms. Mayer’s inability to accomplish what she was hired to do five years ago: revitalize the fading internet icon following its struggles with high employee and executive turnover and declines in ad revenue." She was lucky, though, in that just like a decade ago dumb money was rampant (who can possibly forget Microsoft's failed acquisition of YHOO), so too this time Verizon showed up and acquired Yahoo's core business— excluding some assets like its stakes in other internet companies — for $4.5 billion. That deal is expected to close in June, after months of delays following Yahoo’s disclosure of two massive security breaches.
As the WSJ adds, Yahoo shareholders will vote on the deal during a special meeting on June 8, according to a securities filing published Monday. The measure is expected to pass. As part of their severance package, Ms. Mayer and other top Yahoo executives are eligible for accelerated vesting of all stock options, restricted-stock units, and other equity-based awards outstanding when the deal closes, according to the filing.
For Ms. Mayer, that includes stock options valued at more than $84 million and restricted-stock units worth about $25 million at the current share price of $48.15. She also holds about 1.6 million Yahoo shares, worth nearly $77 million. Together, those amounts are worth $186 million at the current share price, according to the information in the filing. The figure doesn’t include salary, bonus or options she has already exercised.
To be sure, some have tried to moderate their criticism of Mayer with "supporters saying Ms. Mayer took on a steep challenge with Yahoo, but her managerial mistakes, including not cutting costs quickly enough, complicated the already tricky turnaround."
Ironically, she even couldn't sell the company correctly: Verizon initially agreed last July to buy Yahoo’s business for $4.83 billion. Then Yahoo disclosed two large security breaches, one in 2014 that hit more than 500 million accounts and another in 2013 that affected more than 1 billion accounts. Naturally, Russians were promptly blamed for the hack.
The security incidents allowed Verizon to lower the purchase price by $350 million.
In March, Yahoo’s board of directors said Ms. Mayer wouldn’t receive her 2016 cash bonus or 2017 equity awards after a board investigation found that she and other senior executives failed to “properly comprehend or investigate” the 2014 breach.
However, we are confident that with $186 million in the bank in a few months, she will be just fine.