Yahoo! continues its shopping spree—buys Xobni, Qwiki, and Bignoggins Productions
The first week of July has been a busy one for Yahoo Inc., which closed deals to purchase three companies in as many days. The companies acquired are Xobni, the email and address book application; Qwiki, the mobile application that creates mini-movies with the user’s own photos and videos; and Bignoggins Productions, a developer of mobile games for fantasy sports league players.
These acquisitions are now part of the shopping spree started by ex-Google executive Marissa Mayer, who became Yahoo Inc.’s CEO in 2012, in an effort to increase the company’s online services traffic and revive stagnant revenue growth.
Yahoo, which has about 11,000 employees, has since then acquired more than a dozen small businesses, focusing on adding technology and services for smartphones and tablets.
Just last month, Yahoo! closed its $1.1 billion acquisition of blogging service Tumblr, the largest deal Mayer has completed to date.
Yahoo! said that it plans to integrate the app’s technology into its own products, including versions of its email and instant messaging services for mobiles and PCs. The company did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition, but technology blog AllThingsD reported the purchase price at an estimated $30 to $40 million. Yahoo! said Xobni’s 31 employees will stay on at the company, including CEO Jeff Bonforte, who was previously at Yahoo!
Acquired on Tuesday by the Mayer team, this emerging company has developed a movie application for smartphones with the technology to converts videos and photos stored on iPhones into movie clips with music soundtracks. According to technology blog AllThingsD, the purchase price was $40 to $50 million. Yahoo! did not disclose the amount paid, highlighting instead the excitement the application will bring to its users. "Have you ever heard an old song that suddenly brings to mind a favorite holiday, concert, or summer memory?" asked Yahoo! on its blog when announcing the acquisition. "The Qwiki app quickly and automatically converts the images and videos you already have on your iPhone into beautiful clips you can share, adding transitions and a soundtrack."
Yahoo! is committed to further developing the Qwiki app when the application’s development team is integrated into the company’s New York office. Helming Qwiki are Doug Imbruce, CEO and co-founder, and Louis Monier, the other company co-founder, who also founded the AltaVista search site before leaving the company in 2011.
The developer of mobile games for fantasy sports league players was Yahoo!’s first acquisition of the week. The price paid for Silicon Valley-based Bignoggins was not disclosed either, but analysts interpreted it as a sign that it was a very low amount that would not have a relevant impact on the bottom line of the company, which closed March with $5.4 million in cash.
Part of those funds was used to finance Yahoo's $1.1 billion acquisition of blogging service Tumblr. The Bignoggins transaction does not affect Yahoo!’s accounts, but is an achievement for the Bignoggins founder, Jerry Shen. Shen left his job as a software engineer shortly after jump-starting Bignoggings three years ago in San Jose, California, when he began developing various mobile applications related to fictional sports league gaming.
Bignoggins’ apps, such as "Fantasy Monster" and "Monster Draft," became popular and players paid to use the service. Shen used the earnings to finance a trip around the world, which was chronicled by his wife Adrienne on the blog www.shenventure.com. Shen, 30, will join Yahoo!’s mobile devices engineering team at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.
Yahoo will no longer distribute Bignoggins’ apps, but will combine some of the latter’s underlying technology with its own fantasy sports league gaming services.