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Former Yahoo CEO regrets acquiring Tumblr instead of Netflix in 2013

Marissa Mayer, the former Yahoo executive, has opened up about her history with the tech company and her regrets during her tenure.

Under Mayer, the company acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013. But she felt that Yahoo should’ve acquired streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu.

“We looked at a transformative acquisition, and we bought Tumblr,” Mayer told Tech Brew in an interview. “At the same time, we were also considering whether it was possible to buy Hulu or, ironically, Netflix. And I think Netflix was $4 billion and Hulu was at $1.3 billion at the time. And either of those, with hindsight being 20/20, would have been a better acquisition.”

Yahoo went into a series of acquisition schemes with Tumblr. The tech company lowered the acquisition value of the microblogging site to $230 million. After the Verizon acquisition, the tech company sold the microblogging platform to Auttomatic for a far lower price. The financial terms are undisclosed, but various press reports claim that Tumblr’s acquisition price is less than $20 million. Auttomatic is the parent company of the blogging platform WordPress.

For not acquiring Netflix and Hulu, Yahoo ventured into the streaming competition game with Yahoo Screen. Produced content includes Sin City Saints, Other Space, and the picked-up NBC-cancelled sitcom Community.

There are also two regrets that Mayer raised. She regrets that she appointed Henrique de Castro as the one to fill her shoes instead of Lisa Utzschneider and did not create a tax-free Alibaba spinoff.

“If we had done that, it would have saved $10 billion for our shareholders or made them that money, whichever way you look at it, in taxes that were paid,” she added. “And two, it would have allowed Yahoo to continue as an independent company, and it would have potentially had more success.”


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