Biz Break: A look at Marissa Mayer’s four-year Yahoo company buying spree

Top Of The Order:  

Fifty-Three Card Pickup: Yahoo is said to be getting close to finally selling itself. All of it might be on the block. Some of it might be up for grabs. There’s almost as much guessing going on about what parts of Yahoo, or if all of it, is on the market, and who might be involved in the seemingly never-ending bidding process.

Whatever happens, it will bring an end to the Yahoo we have all known for years. And it will mark a conclusion to a four-year buying binge that Chief Executive Marissa Mayer went on — and which did little to turn around Yahoo’s fortunes, no matter how many checks the company cut.

You probably know some of the big names that Yahoo has acquired since the last presidential election: Tumblr. Flurry. Brightroll, maybe a few others. But how many companies has Yahoo bought while under Mayer’s direction?

Try 53. For a total of about $2.3 billion. On Wednesday, Gizmodo took an extensive look at each company Yahoo has acquired since Mayer became CEO to see just what happened to all of those deals and where all the people and technologies involved ended up. Most of those acquisitions were stripped of their talent and tech, some were app developers that were shut down, and some are still humming along. But the whole picture shows a risky strategy that may have had some benefits, but still didn’t do enough to keep Yahoo from arriving at a place where it might have ended up anyway.

Middle Innings:

Don’t Go Changin’ …”: Back in early April, Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, said it reached a deal to acquire Virgin America, of San Francisco, for $2.6 billion. Alaska, which already operates dozens of daily flights from three Bay Area airports, made the deal as part of its efforts to expand beyond its West Coast base of strength.

And the deal is still going through. But Virgin might not be going away.

Speaking at an aviation professionals group in New York, Alaska CEO Brad Tilden said he might not start spray-painting the iconic Eskimo that dons the tail of all of Alaska’s planes onto Virgin’s birds just yet. Tilden said he is considering keeping the Virgin America name and running the airline as a separate brand under the Alaska corporate umbrella.

Tilden said the reasons for keeping the Virgin America name come from a simple reality of the airline’s business.

“We are looking at that because we do believe in the power of the Virgin America brand, and we don’t want to lose all that loyalty and revenue that exists today,” Tilden said during his speech.

Keeping the name of a company it has acquired isn’t unprecedented for Alaska. The company bought Northwest regional carrier Horizon Air in 1986 and has left the Horizon name intact ever since.

We’re Happy Being Private: For many popular private companies, it’s the equivalent of a longtime couple getting besieged with the “When are you going to get married?” question:

“When are you going to go public?”

Like a lot of private companies, San Francisco-based cloud storage provider Dropbox has heard that question many times. And why not? The company is in a popular and growing part of the tech sector, and there have to be some investors who want Dropbox to go public so that they can cash out and buy something like Steve Miller’s estate up near Seattle. (Which you can have for just $16.8 million, by the way.)

Well, don’t hold your breath or go putting in any bids on Miller’s manse just yet. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston says the company is in no rush to go public and, instead, is focusing more on becoming profitable, which it isn’t, yet. Houston told Bloomberg that Dropbox is cash-flow positive and that as it enters the “post-unicorn era” (unicorns being startups that are worth $1 billion or more, at least on paper) he’s trying to manage the company with an eye toward stability in its business, and on its finances.

“Cash is oxygen,” Houston said. “And if you keep having to go to investors to fill up your scuba tank, you can run out.”

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Wednesday …

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from Lending Club, Rovi, InvenSense, FireEye and Twitter.

In The Red: Decliners included Accuray, Aviat Networks, Integrated Device Technology, IXYS and Cypress Semiconductor.

The tech-focused Nasdaq composite index shed 0.2 percent to 4,834.

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average gave up 0.2 percent to end the day at 17,640.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 index also ended the day off by 0.2, to close at 2,071.

Quote Of The Day: “Gender matters not when you’re rocking the Force like you are, baby!” –Actor Mark Hamill, on Twitter in response to a female fan’s question about if it would be OK for her to dress like Luke Skywalker for a comic convention. Really, everyone should be following Hamill’s tweets.

Sign up for the 60-Second Business Break newsletter at www.siliconvalley.com.

Photo: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

 

 

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    -The hottest thing on the market in ‘code:’ Marissa Mayer…!

 
 
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