Yahoo is acquiring blogging platform Tumblr in a $1.1 billion deal, substantially all of which is payable in cash. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second half of the year. Following the acquisition, Tumblr will continue to be independently operated as a separate business, and founder/CEO David Karp will continue as its CEO.
The deal was announced by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, in a Tumblr post. The post also featured an animated gif (the one you see here); and Ms. Mayer solemnly swearing “We promise not to screw it up.”
The assurance and the animation are perhaps both much-needed at this point. There is some concern that Yahoo may fumble with Tumblr, the way it did with GeoCities. There is also concern that Yahoo may not fumble with Tumblr; and the blogging platform will lose its appeal as a destination of troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently, and in animated GIFs.
Rival blogging platform WordPress saw a spike in imports as rumors of a possible acquisition started doing rounds – “Normally we import 400-600 posts an hour from Tumblr, last hour it was over 72,000,” said WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg.
A blogging platform is only as sticky as its bloggers decide; an exodus of users after an expensive deal is the kind of nightmare Facebook investors see most nights. Incidentally, Yahoo paid around $3.5 billion when it acquired GeoCities; but that was 1999, and still raining dollars in Silicon Valley.
Marissa Mayer (CEO, Yahoo): Tumblr is redefining creative expression online. On many levels, Tumblr and Yahoo couldn’t be more different, but, at the same time, they couldn’t be more complementary. Yahoo is the Internet’s original media network. Tumblr is the Internet’s fastest-growing media frenzy. Both companies are homes for brands – established and emerging.
- More than 300 million monthly unique visitors
- 120,000 signups every day
- 900 posts per second
- 24 billion minutes spent on site each month.
- More than half of Tumblr’s users are using the mobile app, for an average of 7 sessions per day.
The combination of Tumblr and Yahoo is expected to grow Yahoo’s audience by 50 percent to more than a billion monthly visitors, and to grow traffic by approximately 20 percent, says Yahoo.
Tumblr can deploy Yahoo’s personalization technology and search infrastructure to help its users discover creators, bloggers, and content they’ll love. In turn, Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (and 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo’s media network and search experiences. The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities, says Yahoo.
David Karp, CEO of Tumblr, addressed the Tumblr community, “Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve – certainly isn’t changing.”
However would we get any work done at work without Reddit NSFW, StumbleUpon, or winking Harisson Fords and waving Darth Ravers and Stephens with matching sweaters on Tumblr. Porn? What porn?
Three cheers for Ms. Mayer for not taking herself too seriously. And yes, please don’t screw up Tumblr!
Psssst, If you want to check out Tech Taffy: on Tumblr, here we are.
[Image courtesy: Yahoo]
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