Yahoo today announced that it has acquired popular blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. Rumors first surfaced about the acquisition late last week, but today the internet mainstay made the announcement official, promising “not to screw it up” in a frankly-worded press release.
To that end, the deal will see current Tumblr CEO David Karp keep his position going forward. Yahoo says that the Tumblr product will be operated independently from the rest of the company so that it can keep “the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.” Those words may assuage the fears of some Tumblr users who have publicly opposed the takeover over the last few days.
The deal is by far the largest in a string of recent acquisitions by Yahoo and its newest CEO Marissa Mayer. Yahoo has been a force on the Web for well over a decade now — and largely still is today — but its traffic, revenue and general relevance has started to fade in recent years as companies like Google, Facebook and others have grown.
But with Tumblr now in tow, Yahoo has an highly popular social media service that traffics in the younger demographics with which the Web giant has lost some touch. It also now has access to Tumblr’s deep well of user-generated content, which Yahoo claims will be integrated into its “media network and search experiences.” Yahoo claims that the acquisition will grow its traffic by “approximately 20 percent.”
Tumblr, meanwhile, has become a social networking powerhouse on its own, but has also struggled to monetize its roughly 130 million users to the fullest extent. Yahoo’s still-significant financial standing and pool of resources could help, but the fear amongst some Tumblr users is that more, possibly intrustive advertisements will be deployed across the site. Yahoo’s press release says that it and Tumblr will “work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance the user experience.”
What exactly those advertising opportunities will entail is still uncertain, but Karp was adamant that Tumblr’s usual “roadmap” won’t be altered by the acquisition.
“Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns: We’re not turning purple,” Karp said in a post on his own Tumblr blog. “Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve – certainly isn’t changing.
“So what’s new? Simply, Tumblr gets better faster,” he continued. “The work ahead of us remains the same – and we still have a long way to go! – but with more resources to draw from.”