Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer regrets buying Tumblr instead of Netflix or Hulu, as it ‘would have been a better acquisition’

Marissa Mayer, the former CEO of Yahoo, recalls her time at the tech company and opens up about some regrets.

During Mayer’s tenure at the top of Yahoo, the company bought microblogging platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013, but feels they should have bought Netflix or Hulu instead.

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

In 2016, Yahoo wrote down the blogging platform’s value by $230 million. In 2019, after Verizon acquired Yahoo, the company sold Tumblr for far less than it had paid for it.

Although Yahoo didn’t buy any of the streaming services, they took a chance on streaming with Yahoo Screen creating programs like Sin City Saints and Other place as well as picking up a sixth season of the canceled NBC sitcom Society.

Mayer also said the other two regrets she had as Yahoo CEO were hiring Henrique de Castro as CEO instead of Lisa Utzschneider and not doing “the tax-free Alibaba spinoff to separate the company’s assets.”

“If we had done that, it would have saved our shareholders $10 billion or earned them that money, however 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 potentially have more success.”

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