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Yahoo 4Q profits, revenue slip

CEO calls 2012 year to grow business

Yahoo Tuesday reported net income dipped to $296 million from $312 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

Revenue eased to $1.3 billion from $1.5 billion.

Newly appointed CEO Scott Thompson called 2012 a key year for the Sunnyvale, Calif. company as it works on “aligning resources behind key areas of focus to enable us to move aggressively in market and grow our business.”

Despite intense competition for advertising and eyeballs, Yahoo had 11 No. 1 global properties at the end last of year and ranks in the top three in 20 categories worldwide.

It’s been moving into programming, including a deal with ABC News covering the presidential campaign and a series of video projects. It will air shorts from the Sundance Film Festival. In conjunction with Playtone and Reliance, will be the exclusive online broadcast partner for Tom Hanks animated series “Electric City.”

The board and new management continue to examine strategic options, including a restructuring of Yahoo’s Asian holdings and a possible sale of all or parts of the company. Founder Jerry Yang exited the board earlier this month, which, along with Thompson’s appointment shortly before, is seen as giving the company fresh impetus to hone its business.

In a conference call with analysts, Thompson revealed little detail about his plans citing his being just two weeks into the new job. He did say, however, that he ended a longstanding internal debate as to whether Yahoo should focus on being a media or technology firm.

“We better be darn good at both,” said Thompson.

The new CEO hinted at both sticking to core competencies and stretching into new areas, but gave few specifics on where he’s headed. But Thompson emphasized that he sees leveraging the data Yahoo has on its 702 million unique vistors worldwide as key to whatever efforts are undertaken. “It’s more than I imagined coming through the door,” said Thompson.

Andrew Wallenstein contributed to this story.

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