David Karp Speaks: Here's Why I Sold Tumblr To Marissa Mayer

David Karp


Tumbler founder David Karp just opened up about why he sold his company to Yahoo for $1.1 billion earlier this month.  

“I was not expecting to sell the company this year,” 26-year-old Karp told Charlie Rose on an interview that aired Thursday.

He had been working with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on a partnership deal for months, since November, he said.


So Mayer had to sell him on the idea that Yahoo should, instead, buy Tumblr.

“We knew we would working together,” he said, but “when Marissa showed up in New York, she walked me down a story of how we can do even more together.”

Mayer wanted Tumblr because she was “looking for a future for Yahoo, a path forward and growth.”

She convinced Karp that an acquisition would save Karp from a painful learning curve. “This was an unbelievable opportunity to shortcut all the very hard things that we are about to be going through,” he said.

That’s because Tumblr’s business “hinges on” creative brand advertising, he told Rose.

Yet, as we previously reported, some research showed that Tumblr was a ghost town for brands. Of more than 10,000 brands tracked by social media marketing company Optimal, less than a quarter had a presence on Tumblr. Those that did hardly used their Tumblr accounts.

But Yahoo has “a legacy, and a huge amount of resources, around all the business stuff that Tumblr was about to go through” and “a big honkin’ salesforce,” Karp said.

Mayer tossed in more than a billion in cash and the deal was done.

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