During a recent interview with Tech Brew, former CEO Marissa Mayer stated that a decade ago, Yahoo was searching for an acquisition that would have a transformative impact. Yahoo considered purchasing Hulu or Netflix, which were valued at $1.3 billion and $4 billion, respectively, at the time.
In 2013, Yahoo ultimately decided to acquire blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billion, but it did not result in the expected outcome. In hindsight, Mayer believes that either Hulu or Netflix would have been a better acquisition, especially considering that Netflix’s current market capitalization is approximately $143.5 billion.
Yahoo attempted to establish its own streaming-video service, which included acquiring the show “Community” after it was cancelled by NBC. However, the service failed to gain momentum and was shut down in 2016. Yahoo had also hoped to use Tumblr as a foundation to enter the social media realm, but it struggled to generate revenue from the platform’s user base.
As a result, Yahoo incurred a $230 million goodwill-impairment charge in 2015. Verizon ultimately purchased Yahoo for $4.5 billion in 2017. In 2019, Automattic, the owner of WordPress, bought Tumblr from Verizon for an estimated $3 million. Currently, Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm, owns Yahoo.
During a private auction in 2013, Yahoo was among the bidders for Hulu when the site’s owners at the time, including Disney, Comcast, and 21st Century Fox, were seeking to sell it. However, the sale was called off in July of that year, as the owners opted to retain their ownership of Hulu. Today, Disney holds a majority stake in Hulu, but the streamer’s future is uncertain. Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated that the company is considering whether to buy out Comcast’s 33% stake in Hulu or to sell or spin off the platform.
Iger acknowledged Hulu’s strong original programming and library content, but noted that the current environment is challenging, and the company wants to carefully study the business before making any significant investment decisions.