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Yahoo to buy Tumblr in $1.1bn deal

US company confirms that it will buy blogging and social networking site, in bid to attract younger user base.

Last Modified: 20 May 2013 18:42
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Yahoo chief, right, has praised Tumblr founder Mark Karp, calling him one of the most "inspiring entrepreneurs" [Reuters]

Internet giant Yahoo has announced that it will acquire the popular blogging platform Tumblr for about $1.1bn in cash, giving the company a much-needed platform in social media to reach a younger generation of users.

The company announced the acquisition in a statement on Monday, saying that it will be independently operated as a seperate business.

David Karp, a high school dropout who started Tumblr six years ago, will remain in control of the service in an effort to retain the same "irreverence, wit and commitment to empower creators", Yahoo said.

The acquisition of Tumblr, a fast-growing platform popular with young users, would be Marissa Mayer's, Yahoo chief executive, largest deal since taking the helm of the once-iconic internet company in July last year.

While hailing Tumblr as a fount of creativity that attracts 300 million visitors each month, Mayer told analysts on Monday that she is "making a sincere promise to not screw it up".

Mayer, who worked closely with Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin during her time at the company, had high praise for Karp during Monday's conference call.


"David Karp is one of the most inspiring, insightful entrepreneurs that I have ever met," she said.

In his statement, Karp predicted Yahoo would help Tumblr grow even faster as he strives "to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas".

Trying to revitalise

Peter Kafka, media reporter at the technology blog All Things Digital, told Al Jazeera that it will take a little time before being able to evaluate whether the potential billion-dollar gamble had paid off.

"What [Mayer] has done is something that will immediately add an audience that you can see [and] that you can see the impact of Yahoo's overall reach," he said.

"What she's done is something where she can immediately add an audience that you can see that will have an immediate impact on Yahoo's overall reach."

Yahoo is keen on fast-growing Tumblr because its younger user base would bolster the older website's "cool factor," according to All Things Digital.

Mayer, who spent 13 years at Google, is trying to revitalise a former internet powerhouse that in recent years has struggled with declining business.

The deal comes after a recent failed attempt by Yahoo to buy a controlling stake in French video site Dailymotion, owned by France Telecom.

Tumblr, one of the more successful internet start-ups out of New York, has only just begun earning revenue through advertising.

On its home page, Tumblr says it hosts 108 million blogs, with 50.7 billion posts between them.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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