SAN FRANCISCO – Yahoo has bought Silicon Valley startup Jybe so it can bring back five of its former engineers to help the Internet company build better mobile applications.
The deal announced Wednesday marks Yahoo’s fourth acquisition of a small startup during the past five months. In each instance, Yahoo been more interested in obtaining the startups’ brainpower than the services that they provided.
As with its other recent acquisitions, Yahoo Inc. didn’t disclose the purchase price.
Jybe’s mobile service that gathered people’s recommendations about food and entertainment is closing down so its five employees can focus on other projects at Yahoo Inc. All five Jybe workers were formerly employed at Yahoo before the company hired former Google Inc. executive Marissa Mayer as its CEO eight months ago.
The recent acquisitions are part of Mayer’s effort to bring in more expertise in designing mobile applications to give Yahoo a better chance of connecting with the steadily growing audience that are relying on smartphones and tablet computers to reach online services instead of personal computers.
The group of Jybe employees returning to Yahoo includes Arnab Bhattacharjee, who was a vice-president of search at the company before leaving nearly two years ago while Carol Bartz was CEO. Bartz had negotiated a deal that turned the responsibility for providing most of Yahoo’s search results to Microsoft Corp. That move triggered a wave of defections on Yahoo’s own internal search team.
After focusing on nothing but small acquisitions under Mayer’s command, Yahoo may be working on something bigger. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo is in preliminary discussion to buy a controlling stake in online video site Dailymotion from France Telecom SA. The report cited anonymous people familiar with the talks.
Yahoo declined to comment on The Journal’s report.
The Journal indicated Yahoo is considering buying a 75 per cent stake in Dailymotion for about $225 million.
Yahoo’s stock dipped 6 cents to $22.11 in early afternoon trading.