Yahoo buys social-browser maker Rockmelt, will ax apps

The spend-happy tech company nabs the startup for reportedly about $70 million, to help with content discovery.

yahoo rockmelt
Yahoo

Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer continued her fast-and-furious shopping spree Friday with the acquisition of Rockmelt, makers of a browser that specializes in deep social-media integration. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the 4-year-old startup said its apps will be shuttered at the end of the month.

"Yahoo and Rockmelt share a common goal: To help people discover the best content from around the Web," Rockmelt co-founders Tim Howes and Eric Vishria wrote on the company blog.

Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, citing sources, reported that Yahoo paid between $60 million and $70 million for Rockmelt. Though Rockmelt's apps will disappear August 31, Yahoo said it would use the company's technology in its products.

"Thirty-two Rockmelt employees have joined our media and mobile organization," a Yahoo spokesperson told CNET. "We aren't going to discuss specifics, but we plan to integrate the Rockmelt technology into our media platform in order to deliver content in new and exciting ways. Stay tuned!"

Prior to the acquisition, Rockmelt had raised roughly $40 million in funding from notable backers including Andreessen Horowitz and Accel Partners, but it failed to gain significant consumer traction. The company said earlier this year that it had abandoned its desktop browser to focus on Web content discovery. Rockmelt had also made mobile a priority, and recently released an Android application for content consumption.

According to data from private-company tracker Mattermark, Rockmelt was struggling to draw attention to its various apps in the months ahead of the acquisition. Web traffic seemed to be hovering around 650,000 unique visitors per month, and iTunes weekly downloads were down dramatically, as were inbound links.

The Rockmelt buy is the 21st under Mayer, who took the helm at Yahoo a little more than one year ago. Mayer's most notable pickup was the $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr, but her company has brought in a slew of new talent and technologies by acquiring small or underperforming startups such as Qwiki, Summly, Rondee, and Xobni.

Update, 11:56 a.m. PT: With exact number of acquisitions, comment from Yahoo, and Mattermark data.

 

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