Corporate News

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! Year-In-Review: 14 Acquisitions Since CEO Took Office

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! Pick Up Rondee, GhostBird Software, Bringing Total Acquisitions To 14

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer made waves with a $1.1 billion cash acquisition of Tumblr last month. Considering the company only had about $1.2 billion on-hand at the time, no one could blame you for thinking that deal would be the culmination of her spending spree.

But in the last 24 hours, the company has added video conferencing site Rondee and photo editing app-makers GhostBird Software to the company’s portfolio.

If it seems Mayer’s shopping cart has been full since she took the top job in July 2012, that’s because it has. In less than a year, Yahoo!, under Mayer’s direction, has acquired 14 companies, and we have no reason to think a slowdown is in the future.

After all, the Yahoo Hulu bid in May (reportedly for between $600 million and $800 million) is still on the table, though it’s also one of seven that the video streaming service is considering. (More on that in the video below.)

Before Marissa Mayer continues to buy out the rest of the civilized world, we thought it best to recap her efforts thus far. It’s worth noting that the increase in activity hasn’t had a negative effect on stock price. When she took over, Yahoo! shares were selling at around $15.34. On Thursday, the company was at $26.39, an increase of around 42 percent.

1. Tumblr

We’ve got to admit, the Yahoo Tumblr deal is a bit of a head scratcher. It’s not that the Tumblr blogging platform doesn’t have value. The company estimated revenues at $100 million in 2013, so we can see buying based on growth potential. But to spend $1.1 billion and virtually deplete the cash reservoirs over a platform that only raked in $13 million in 2012 doesn’t seem rational. Wisely, Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! have committed to “not screwing up” Tumblr in an official statement, which means ad-hating users drawn to the platform’s anything goes style can probably expect more of the same ad-free, uncensored use in the near future.

2. Summly

Yahoo’s $30 million purchase of Summly went down in April, making 17-year-old CEO Nick D’Aloisio a very rich teen two years after he started his news summarization service. The Summly deal also makes more sense considering Yahoo.com and its established news content. Summly is mobile friendly with a visually pleasing interface that provides a summary of news stories set against the background of said story’s featured image. Yahoo! has already integrated the widely popular service into its new iOS platform.

3. Snip.it

This was another good purchase for Marissa Mayer. Snip.it became a Yahoo! joint in January of this year for the sum of $10 million. Rather than spend what would probably be a much larger chunk of change on Pinterest, the company was able to pick up this lesser known platform, which is basically Pinterest-meets-the-news allowing users to create collections of articles, videos, and images, all for a proverbial song and dance.

INTERMISSION: Unfortunately, starting with our number four entry, things start to get a little sketchy with regard to financial disclosures. From here on, none of that information is available, so we’ll have to wait until people decide to start talking. However, Mayer has said in the past that acquisitions will typically fall in the double-digit to low $100 million range.

 

 

4. OnTheAir

Not only did Yahoo! pick up OnTheAir, a video chat and broadcasting platform, in December 2012, but it also hired its entire team to integrate and manage the service moving forward. The platform will probably maintain its full functionality, allowing content creators to publish single or split-screen interviews. Along with today’s Rondee acquisition, this should place Yahoo! in a strong position to compete with Google Hangout.

5. Rondee

No one has spilled any details on the total number of beans that Yahoo! paid for Rondee, but that deal was announced earlier today. For those of you unfamiliar with Rondee, it is a free conference-call platform. There is also no word on what Marissa Mayer and company plan to do with it, though it’s certainly a nice companion piece to the OnTheAir deal.

6. GhostBird Software

Yahoo! acquired Flickr as part of a $40 million deal with Ludicorp in 2005. With the rise of Instagram, it only made sense that they would pick up GhostBird today. The app maker’s Kit Cam and PhotoForge 2 are coming into their own at just the right time, and it should be easy to integrate existing features with Flickr, though what Mayer and her team ends up doing with it remains to be seen.

7, 8, and 9. Stamped/Alike/Jybe

In October 2012, Mayer added Stamped, a social recommendation platform allowing users to record and share recommendations of their favorite things. According to TechCrunch, the deal was reportedly in “the double-digit millions.” The three-man team was also hired on for the integration. In February and March, Yahoo! added on two additional social rec platforms in Alike and Jybe, respectively. (Both for undisclosed sums.)

Alike allows you to recommend your “nearby” favorites giving Yahoo! a leg up on local customization for content. Jybe, a company started in 2011 by three ex-Yahoo! employees, was also created with the purpose of connecting people to the physical world around them. In these two acquisitions, it also appears the company will be keeping the original owners on board, at least through integration into the Yahoo! Mobile Platform, and probably beyond.

10. Astrid

In keeping with the mobile buildup, Yahoo! purchased the to-do productivity app Astrid in May for an undisclosed sum that TechCrunch reports was “well over the amount you would pay for an acqui-hire.” Considering that Astrid had more than 4 million users at the time of the purchase, we can definitely see the value, especially when looking at the other acquisitions.

11. GoPollGo

Real-time survey platform GoPollGo was another May acquisition that Marissa Mayer picked up for an undisclosed sum. Still no word on how much of it Yahoo! will keep, but the team has joined staff in Sunnyvale.

12. MileWise

Travel site MileWise joined the Yahoo! family last month around the same time as GoPollGo and Astrid. The site was particularly useful to frequent fliers, who wanted to see the best flight deals with FF discounts factored in.

13, 14. Loki Studios/Playerscale

May 2013 was by far the busiest month for Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! The company made six of its 14 acquisitions during that time (including its most expensive in Tumblr). Joining the other purchases, were two gaming companies. The bigger purchase was PlayerScale, which develops software infrastructure for cross-platform gaming and had more than 150 million users at the time of the transaction. Loki Studios, a mobile gaming company, was the second. Loki is primarily known for its location-aware game Geomon.

Social recommendations, video broadcasting, news aggregation, mobile/online gaming … could a Yahoo! Smartphone be in the works? Time will tell, but it’s not that farfetched. What do you think Yahoo!’s long-term plans are, and which company do you predict is next on the radar for Marissa Mayer?

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]

About the author

Chase H. Williams

Chase H. Williams is a writer, serial entrepreneur, professional procrastinator, dreamer, explorer and risk taker. He’s been weightless aboard a NASA C9-B aircraft and his head hasn’t quite come back down from the clouds. Visit his website @ chasewritescopy.com