The drama is over: After a whirlwind courtship, Yahoo is buying Tumblr, the two companies have confirmed.
Or maybe the drama is just beginning? After all, that’s often how these things work — giant company gobbles up small, quirky start-up, tramples its unique culture and alienates its users until finally its demoralized founders strike out for greener pastures.
That’s not going to be how it happens this time, Yahoo insists in its press release announcing the deal:
Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.
Tumblr founder David Karp also took pains to acknowledge the skeptics in his message to staff announcing the sale. “[L]et me try to allay any concerns: We’re not turning purple,” he writes. “So what’s new? Simply, Tumblr gets better faster. The work ahead of us remains the same – and we still have a long way to go! – but with more resources to draw from.”
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who worked hard to convince Karp that her company isn’t the kind of mash-handed “behemoth” he feared, says buyer and seller “ couldn’t be more different, but, at the same time, they couldn’t be more complementary.”
Underscoring that, Yahoo says folding in Tumblr’s audience of 300 million users to its base of 700 million-plus will result in audience growth of 50%. That means there’s virtually no duplication, Tumblr having a stranglehold on the teenage and twentysomething users Yahoo so desperately needs.
In pre-market trading, Yahoo shares were up 1.4%.