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Yahoo confirms $1.1bn Tumblr buy, promises not to ‘screw it up’

20 May 2013

Yahoo has confirmed its $1.1bn purchase of social site Tumblr in a move designed to help the firm reconnect with younger audiences and re-engerise its brand in the face of competition from Twitter and Facebook.

Tumblr has 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, leading to 900 posts per second. Tumblr also attracts mobile interest, with half of all users on the mobile app. This should increase Yahoo's audience to over one billion a month, the firm claimed, which will appeal to advertisers.

The deal was expected and, in a post on Tumblr, Yahoo chief executive Marrisa Mayer confirmed the deal. In a rare display of self-awarenes for a major tech firm, Mayer immediately addressed concerns raised that Yahoo would ruin the popular site.

“We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO,” she said.

“The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo will help Tumblr get even better, faster.”

Karp also moved to reassure users that the site’s core ethos and style would not be altered as a result of the acquisition.

"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,” he said.

“But we're elated to have the support of Yahoo and their team who share our dream to make the internet the ultimate creative canvas. Tumblr gets better faster with more resources to draw from."

The pains taken by both firms to reassure users that the deal is good news, and not a sign that the site will deteriorate, is a telling indication that the Yahoo brand is still weak when compared to more up-and-coming sites, like Tumblr.

However, discussing the announcement on a conference call, Mayer said there was  natural fit between the two companies that would enable them both to grow.

“We need great tools for content creation and publishing and they [Tumblr] have them. We were the original media network, Tumblr is the fastest growing media frenzy. It prides itself as being a home for brands, and we at Yahoo are all about brands, and we’re both intensely focused on mobile.”

Yahoo is also hosting an event later tonight at 10pm UK time with some web speculation suggesting the firm is going to rebrand. We'll be covering it at the time so check back later or tomorrow for further information on whatever is announced.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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