Unlike Yahoo! (YHOO) in the US, Yahoo! Japan shares are in the middle of their 52-week trading range. And, the Yahoo! sites lead all others in terms of total unique visitors, According to comScore, Yahoo! Japan had 41.1 million unique visitors during August. Google (GOOG) was second with 30.9 million.
In most large countries in Europe, Google leads Yahoo!. And in China, both are behind sites like Baidu (BIDU), but Google still does better than its rival.
Why is Yahoo! different in Japan? Perhaps the most important thing is that the company has several large shareholders including Softbank, a large multimedia company with interests in broadband, telecom, and wireless operations.
Yahoo! might like to buy-out Softbank, but having a relationship with a major infrastructure company in the country give the portal access to distribution, like wireless, that it might not have so easily in the US and Europe.
There have been many rumors about Yahoo! being sold. But, the company might be much smarter to look for a large distribution network company like Comcast (CMCSA) or AT&T (T) to be a holder.
It seems to work well in Japan.
Douglas A. McIntyre