When it comes to the slow-motion pratfall that is Yahoo’s bidding process, much attention has, appropriately, been paid to the latest write-down of Tumblr.
After buying Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013 and promising not to screw it up, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer screwed it up. The final admission of such came when the company said it was taking another write-down that effectively means Tumblr is worth little or nothing.
Of course, it barely matters, since Yahoo will soon be acquired by some other corporate giant and folded lovingly into its arms. But forgotten in the ensuing smacking of foreheads is that Tumblr was one of an astounding 49 acquisitions costing at least $2.2 billion made since Mayer took the helm of the good ship Yahoo, according to Wikipedia. The overwhelming number were for amounts so low that the figure paid was not disclosed.
That number is not crazy, considering Google topped it with one deal: Paying $3.2 billion for Nest in 2014. Still, it was a dramatic shift for Yahoo, which had made 65 acquisitions in its entire history before Mayer entered.
Obviously, this acquisition strategy didn’t save Yahoo.
Mayer at various points argued that it was a way to quickly bring in fresh ideas and talent. But at the same time, it’s easy to imagine that this flurry of activity contributed to managerial chaos. At the same time as ushering in teams here and there and trying to plug in products or features, Mayer was aggressively laying off employees.
On the plus side, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists had a reliable target for early-stage acquisitions. They will likely shed a tear upon Yahoo’s passing.
Still, one can imagine it was hard to know exactly where Yahoo was headed if you were inside this whirlwind.
In any case, as we sing eulogies for Yahoo, here’s a peek at the 49 acquisitions that will join it in the burial ground: