Yahoo CTO Ari Balough told the Reuters tech conference crowd this week that the company is looking at acquiring social media startups and smartphone application-makers.
“It’s a good time to be buying now,” he said. “I can guarantee you there will be some acquisitions.”
OK, fine. We’ll take the bait.
Here’s who we think Yahoo should look at buying:
Twitter might already be too expensive for Yahoo. Right now, any ~$1 billion acquisition would be a major bet for battered big Purple. Still, we continue to believe Twitter search results pages are a great place to put the kind of search ads that make Google billions of dollars each quarter. Yahoo wanted to acquire for Facebook for $1 billion back in 2006, but balked it when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted $1.2 billion. Will it pull the trigger this time?
Gawker Media owner Nick Denton is bored and he’s finally looking for an exit, somebody who likes to gossip with him told us the other day. If it’s true, Yahoo’s dealmakers should jump. After Yahoo hands over its search business to Microsoft (we still think that’s happening), it must double-down on brand advertising, which it still dominates. Brand advertisers love Gawker’s sites, especially Gawker proper, lady-blog Jezebel and most of all, gadgets site Gizmodo. They love Gawker to the tune of 27% growth year-over-year.
Zynga, which makes social games like “Texas Hold’em” for the Facebook platform, will rake in $100 million this year selling virtual goods. Don’t laugh. Virtual goods are a huge business in Asia, but no one in the US has been able to figure it out till now.
Yelp is user-reviews site with real traction that could help Yahoo finally get somewhere with local advertisers — something Yahoo’s endlessly hyped Newspaper Consortium was supposed to do, but hasn’t. Yelp is just now building up a sales force to take advantage of its traffic growth. Buy it and Yahoo could save those cost by just putting its people on the job, just as newspapers finally start to fold and drive local advertisers online.
Loopt makes smartphone apps that tell users where their friends are. It’s still small time, but if Yahoo can move some of its hundreds of millions of users into Loopt, the service would suddenly become extremely useful. The money is in local ads ands deals with carriers.