This, dear reader, is a hard n’ fast chronicle of the biggest corporate fuck-up of all time. Eclipsing the Enron failure & more embarrassing than Daimler’s $20 billion loss on Chrysler, the Yahoo! trail of missed opportunities is proof that not all lunatics reside in asylums. This is ten years of absolute idiocy by the Yahoo! board of directors.
1998 – Yahoo! turns down the opportunity to purchase Google for $1 million. Yes, Google – the company that from day one dominated internet search. Worst. Decision. Ever.
2002 – Realising their error, Yahoo! submits a $3 billion bid for Google. The bid is declined. Demonstrating that the Yahoo! board have not, in fact, truly realised their error of 4 years previous, the $5 billion counter-offer from Google is rejected.
2008 – Microsoft offers $40 billion for Yahoo! Tech world wonders WTF Microsoft are offering such a premium price for. Irrelevant, the bid is rejected.
2016 – Verizon, having “snapped up” former tech titan AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion, purchases Yahoo! for $4.3 billion. Which, quite probably, is $4.3 billion too much.
Saving grace – Yahoo! was an early investor in Alibaba & Yahoo! Japan. Having sold down half their Alibaba stake in the massive IPO – then burning the cash on failed investments like the $1 billion Tumblr purchase – the remaining Asian shareholding is valued at the time of the Verizon sale at $40 billion.
Phew! Thank fuck for that! They might (do) look like clumsy fools for turning what was (in 2000) the world’s most valuable online company into an almost irrelevant bit player, but at least the shareholders aren’t going to take a complete bath. Jerry Yang though, is not featuring at the top of any Rich List, nor has he for quite some time.
Verizon, obviously, have not purchased the Yahoo! investments. They will own the Yahoo! properties – the Web presence that we see. Whether the combined synergy of AOL’s largely forgotten properties, Yahoo’s loserville sites & search engine (powered by Bing anyway) with Verizon’s powerful (America’s biggest wireless provider) mobile reach is yet to be seen, although it does have potential.
Mobile is by far the biggest source of advertising income, with Verizon burning their amalgamation of services & sites into all their contract phones, they could concievably return AOL & Yahoo! to the top echelon of web properties – mobile web that is.
The Chinese shares (the incredible value of which has precisely nothing to do with Yahoo!) & Japanese namesake holding will be bundled into a separate company.
That’s probably worth a punt on too – Alibaba is pressing ahead with plans to be THE gateway to the world’s largest consumer marketplace. You’d really want to make sure that the board of directors is completely unrelated to the legacy Yahoo! board of 1998 – 2008.