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Yahoo Earnings Beat Wall Street Expectations

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And Internet giant Yahoo has reported its fourth-quarter earnings. The company beat Wall Street expectations, and its new CEO Marissa Mayer is getting praise. But it's unclear which part of Yahoo's business, if any, will be the key to turning around the once-flailing company.

From member station KQED in San Francisco, Aarti Shahani reports.

AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: Yahoo ended 2012 with $1.35 billion in revenue, up 2 percent from the prior year. On the earnings conference call, Marissa Mayer described her first months at the company.

MARISSA MAYER: There's basically been a new major initiative every other week.

SHAHANI: Mayer wants to turn Yahoo Mail, the homepage and the photo app Flickr into daily digital habits.

Yahoo is making more money from users clicking ads while searching, but less money on display ads - the ones that show up while you're web surfing.

Competitors Google, Facebook and Microsoft outspend Yahoo on innovation. But Mayer alluded to an old civil rights saying to explain why the new talent she's hired can win.

MAYER: Don't think that a small number of people can't change the world. In truth, no one else ever has.

KEN SENA: Yahoo! is one of the largest U.S. Internet companies ever.

SHAHANI: Ken Sena, managing director at Evercore Partners, says right now, Yahoo's products, however innovative, aren't as important as its investments.

SENA: Its ownership interests in Asia, plus its cash, that makes up most of the value within Yahoo.

SHAHANI: The company ended 2012 with $6 billion in cash, more than double the previous year. That's because Yahoo sold part of its stake in Alibaba, the e-commerce giant in China.

For NPR News, I'm Aarti Shahani in San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.