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Portal percolates

Yahoo! signs new CFO as earnings increase

NEW YORK — Internet giant Yahoo! Wednesday named Susan Decker, global head of research at investment bank Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, as its new chief financial officer, starting in June.

The influential Wall Streeter Decker replaces Gary Valenzuela, who will retire in July.

Yahoo!, which is endlessly rumored to be a potential partner for a big entertainment company, also said first-quarter earnings, excluding one-time items, rose to $63.3 million from $17.7 million a year ago — slightly above Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue rose to $228.4 million from $103.9 million.

Overseas growth

Page views of Yahoo’s Web sites averaged 625 million a day in March, up about 34% from the end of 1999. Yahoo said much of the increase came from overseas, where its audience is growing.

The company’s auction service surpassed 2.5 million daily listings for the quarter, up from 1.5 million in December. Yahoo! had reportedly considered merging with online auction powerhouse eBay, although talks seem to have broken off.

Showbiz-shy

While many Wall Streeters see the company’s future as a partner to a major media and entertainment conglom, much the way America Online teamed up with Time Warner, Yahoo has denied interest in plunging into showbiz. Nonetheless, speculation continues to pair it with Walt Disney, News Corp. and others.

Yahoo! itself said Wedesday that it will be scouting for acquistions in the U.S. and overseas. But the company said plans for future growth will focus on distributing its content to wireless devices like cell phones, which will enable consumers to connect to the Internet anywhere at any time.

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