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Think of Yahoo as a traditional enterprise (with all the assets just mentioned) stuck on top of a small safe deposit box. Inside that box: a huge pile of cash, plus stock certificates of two Asian tech companies. Yahoo owns about 15 percent of Internet giant Alibaba, a stake that would trade on the open market for roughly $29 billion. It also has a 36 percent holding (worth about $9 billion) in Yahoo! Japan, a publicly traded company based in Tokyo that long ago abandoned Yahoo’s search technology for Google’s. If you add up the cash and the stocks, you’ll notice that the value of the contents of the box totals $43 billion.

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On the morning of Thursday, July 12, 2012, Yahoo’s interim CEO, Ross Levinsohn, still believed he was going to be named permanent CEO of the company.

He had just one more meeting to go. 

That meeting was a board meeting, to be held that day in a room on the second floor of Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters. The room was big, with a large horseshoe table and video screens on the walls.

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