Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yahoo Paid $20 Million For A 12-Week-Old Company And It Was A BRILLIANT Move

Yesterday, Yahoo bought a 12-week-old company called IntoNow.
Besides IntoNow's short life as independent company, there were two noteworthy aspects to this transaction.
  • It was a very smart deal.
  • It was a very smart deal by Yahoo.
IntoNow is a Shazam-meets-Foursquare-for-TV iPhone app.
What that means in English is that the app can actually listen to the sound coming from your TV speakers, identify the show you're watching , and then let you tell your friends what you're watching by "checking-in."
It's a smart acquisition by Yahoo. We like it for three reasons in particular…
It's cheap. Yahoo paid somewhere between $17 million and $25 million, depending on whether you include stock and earnout clauses in the price. Believe it or not, that's cheap – even though IntoNow has only been live for 12 weeks. Yes, Yahoo paid just $35 million for Flickr 6 years ago, but that was a different era. It bid $125 million for Foursquare last summer and lost out.
It was fast. The reason Yahoo was able to get IntoNow cheap was that it bought the company before the app got too popular. $20 million may seem like a lot for a company that launched in 2011, but if the app is any good, it would have cost 10X that by next year. Yahoo was slow to pounce on GoogleFacebook, and Twitter. Good to see the trend turning around.
It's strategic. These days, everyone watches TV with another screen on. With IntoNow (re-branded as Yahoo TV?) Yahoo will be able to build specific media experiences around the TV shows its users are watching. That means Yahoo will have as good of a shot as anybody at being on that second screen at any given time. We imagine it won't be too hard selling ads in that space. Yahoo sells brand advertising to big mainstream audiences. TV shows attract big mainstream audiences. Yahoo can just pitch the brands that bought the TV shows its users are watching.