One of the first things Marissa Mayer did after becoming Yahoo CEO was to go on an acquisition spree, spending nearly $3 billion on dozens of startups.
But after selling itself to Verizon, Yahoo’s in cost-cutting mode now, and the company’s likely done buying anything for a while.
The clearest indication of Yahoo putting a stop to Mayer’s famous buying spree could be seen in its latest 10-K filing.
The “Risk Factors” section discussing acquisitions and strategic investments used to start with this sentence in the first quarter:
“We have acquired, and have made strategic investments in, a number of companies (including through joint ventures) in the past, and we may make additional acquisitions and strategic investments in the future.”
But in the second quarter, Yahoo updated it to look like this:
“We have acquired, and have made strategic investments in, a number of companies (including through joint ventures).”
It’s also taken out this entire sentence:
“We are likely to experience similar risks in connection with our future acquisitions and strategic investments.”
Given all the changes Yahoo’s going through now, it’s not too surprising the company’s amended some of the language in its filing. But the change may also have to do with the fact that Yahoo’s acquisitions haven’t fared well, as it said it wiped out almost all of the goodwill, or the premium cost it paid for startups, in its latest filing.
In fact, of the $4.4 billion goodwill in the Americas segment, Yahoo recorded an impairment loss of $4.3 billion as of June 30, 2016. It wrote off the entire $1.2 billion goodwill cost in the EU, Middle East, and Africa region, while taking another $159 million loss from the $466 million goodwill in Asia.
Perhaps this explains why SpringOwl Asset Management’s Eric Jackson, one of the most vocal critics of Yahoo, called the startups Yahoo bought “zombie companies” in his 99-page presentation to the company’s board last year.
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