Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), the No. 2 search engine, said it will fire 2,000 employees --14 percent of the total -- starting Wednesday and incur a charge as high as $145 million in the second quarter.
The job cuts are the first big move by new CEO Scott Thompson, who joined Yahoo in January. Thompson is facing a proxy fight for control of the Sunnyvale, California company from Third Point Capital, a New York hedge fund, which already holds a nearly 6 percent stake. The job cuts are expected to save the company $375 million a year when completed later this year.
Yahoo employs about 14,100, mainly in the U.S. Thompson is expected to elaborate on his plans for the company on April 17, when it is scheduled to release first-quarter results.
The former president of eBay Inc.'s (Nasdaq: eBay) PayPal division, Thompson, 54, has said he will take steps to change Yahoo, whose laggard performance led to the ouster of his predecessor, Carol Bartz, 63, in September.
Among the options under consideration are selling minority stakes in assets such as China's Alibaba Group, in which Yahoo holds a 40 percent stake; sale of a 20 percent interest in Yahoo Japan and other initiatives to make Yahoo's highly viewed sites such as Yahoo News and Yahoo Sports more profitable.
Third Point chairman Daniel Loeb, in a series of letters to Yahoo's board, has argued the current leadership isn't doing enough. Last month, he proposed a slate of four nominees to the board. Besides himself, they include former NBCUniversal executive Jeff Zucker, who was a successful chief of the Today Show before heading NBC News, as well as Harry Wilson, a millionaire New York businessman who narrowly lost the 2010 race for New York State Comptroller on the Republican ticket.
It had been previously reported that Yahoo was planning some job cuts. Yahoo shares rose 9 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $15.27. They have fallen 3 percent since Thompson took over on Jan. 4.