Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Unsolicited Text Messages

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Today in a Chicago court, a federal judge has ruled that Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) must face a class action suit over allegedly sending unsolicited text messages to as many as 500,000 Sprint customers in March of 2013. According to the case, Johnson et al v. Yahoo Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Nos. 14-02028, 14-02753, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) sent text messages to the phones of their Yahoo Messenger users after they received separate messages from other individuas. The texts were automated ‘welcome’ messages.

The lawsuit claims that Yahoo has violated the federal TCPA, and if found guilty could be responsible for as much as $1,500 in damages per message. Ultimately this could very well be a pricey lawsuit for the company if they are fined the maximum amount, and all 500,000 possible cellphone users join in on the class action. While it is likely that only a small fraction of these users will join the class, Yahoo likely would still be on the hook for millions of dollars if found guilty.

The stock decreased 5.59% or $1.86 during the last trading session, hitting $31.4. About 25.19M shares traded hands or 63.04% up from the average. YHOO has declined 22.54% since May 29, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 19.53%.

From a total of 25 analysts covering Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) stock, 16 rate it a “Buy”, 0 a “Sell”, and 9 a “Hold”. This means that 64% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $62 while the lowest target price is $32. The mean of all analyst targets is $42.71 which is 36.02% above today’s ($31.4) stock price. Yahoo! Inc. was the topic of 59 analyst reports since July 22, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. SunTrust maintained shares on December 10 with a “Buy” rating. Cowen & Co maintained shares with a”Market Perform” rating and a $35 target share price in their report from an October 21. FBR Capital maintained YHOO stock in a recent report from December 9 with a “Outperform” rating. RBC Capital Markets maintained the rating on October 21. RBC Capital Markets has a “Sector Perform” rating and a $42 price target on shares. Finally, Oppenheimer maintained the stock with a “Outperform” rating in a report they issued on an October 21.

The institutional sentiment decreased to 0.8 in Q2 2015. It’s down 0.23, from 1.03 in 2015Q2. The ratio turned negative, as 113 funds sold all their Yahoo! Inc. shares they owned while 235 reduced their positions. 60 funds bought stakes while 220 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 619.16 million shares which is 2.60% less than the previous share count of 635.68 million in 2015Q2.

Stonehill Capital Management Llc holds 60.89% of its total portfolio in Yahoo! Inc., equating to 5.71 million shares. Zenit Asset Management Ab owns 4.42 million shares representing 22.25% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Indaba Capital Management L.P. has 21.81% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 2.31 million shares. The United Kingdom-based Davide Leone & Partners Investment Co Llp has a total of 17.99% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Owl Creek Asset Management L.P., a New York-based fund reported 9.97 million shares owned.

Yahoo! Inc. is a technology company

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