Has Marissa Mayer’s acquire-to-hire strategy for Yahoo paid off?

Sabri Ben-Achour and Katie Long Apr 16, 2013

Has Marissa Mayer’s acquire-to-hire strategy for Yahoo paid off?

Sabri Ben-Achour and Katie Long Apr 16, 2013

Since Marissa Mayer took the helm of Yahoo, the company has been acquiring tech and media brains.

“Yahoo is buying people’s companies that are very talented especially in mobile where consumer is moving,” says Laura Martin, an analyst with Needham & Company.

Yahoo bought Summly, Snip.It, and Jybe among other small startups you may never have heard of. The strategy, basically is: Smart people will develop smarter products. Shares are up more than 50 percent under Mayer, but analysts say it has nothing to do with her or Yahoo’s main business.  

“The reality is the vast, vast, vast majority of the underlying appreciation of Yahoo stock is due to the tremendous growth in value of the company’s Asian assets,” says Brian Wieser, analyst with the Pivotal Research Group.

He says Yahoo owns a big stake in Yahoo Japan, an independent web portal, and Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company that sold more last year than Amazon and eBay combined. They’re both growing 40-60 percent per year and pushing up Yahoo’s stock

Yahoo’s recent run on brainpower:


Yahoo purchased Stamped, which was Mayer’s first acquisition as CEO, in October of 2012. Stamped is a New York City start-up with a mobile app that allows users to record and share recommendations with friends. All of Stamped’s nine employees were reported to join Yahoo.


In December of 2012, Yahoo purchased video chat broadcasting app OnTheAir. The app lets people webcast single or splitscreen interviews. All five members of the start-up joined Yahoo’s mobile team.


In January of 2013, Yahoo acquired Snip.It, a Pinterest-like app which lets users clip and display news articles. All but one of Snip.It’s 10-person staff were reported to join Yahoo.


Mayer made a move to purchase Propeld, the maker of mobile app Alike, which lets users mark nearby venues as “favorites,” in February of 2013. After the acquisition, the Alike team moved over to work at Yahoo.


In March, Yahoo purchased Jybe, a startup food, event, book, and movie recommendations service that hopes to “help connect people with the world around them.” Jybe was founded by three ex-Yahoo employees, who will now re-enter the company fold.


Last month, Yahoo acquired news-reading app Summly from its 17-year-old founder Nick D’Aloisio. D’Aloisio is working with the company to incorporate Summly’s technology, which translates long-form news stories into shorter summaries, into Yahoo’s mobile apps.

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