On the Call: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — Yahoo has bought about 30 smaller companies during Marissa Mayer's 18-month reign as CEO, including eight more deals during the final three months of 2013. The fourth-quarter list of acquisitions included a startup called Aviate, which makes a tool to help smartphone users automatically organize their apps. Yahoo has used most of the deals to improve its technology and bring in more engineers with expertise in mobile apps.
The big exception has been Internet blogging service Tumblr, for which Yahoo Inc. paid $1.1 billion in an effort to spruce up the design of its existing products and appeal to Web surfers younger than 30.
Mayer discussed her acquisition strategy in response to a question posed Tuesday during Yahoo's review of its fourth-quarter earnings.
QUESTION: I wonder if you could just remind us is there a common theme across the acquisitions that investors should be mindful of? And even going forward into 2014 and 2015... should we expect the same velocity of acquisitions going forward?
ANSWER: There's basically three different types of acquisitions that we do. We do smaller, talent acquisitions where we tend to tuck those teams in. Those have largely been in the mobile area. We also make small strategic acquisitions. I would put Aviate, for example, in that bucket. I would also put Summly, which ultimately powered both our Yahoo app, as well as the new Yahoo news digest app.
And then finally we have some acquisitions that are really fundamental building blocks, which is Tumblr. It allows us to tap into a new demographic, it allows us to really participate in new growth engines like social, and it's really fundamentally becoming a key part of our overall technological offering, as well as our strategy in that, it helps bring new content onto the Yahoo platform through all the creators and curators who are active on Tumblr.
But also we're now beginning to use (Tumblr) as our internal content management system on things like our new digital magazines, food and tech. In terms of what we intend to see this year, we'll continue to opportunistically look for talent acquisitions .... And we'll also look for good strategic alignment, which will largely align with our four main areas: search, communications, the digital magazines and video, as well as Flickr and Tumblr.