Yahoo to buy news-summarizing app Summly for undisclosed sum
The app, created by teenager Nick D'Aloisio, will shut down for now but will "come to life" through Yahoo's various mobile offerings soon.
Yahoo's acquisition push under new CEO Marissa Mayer continues today, with the company saying it's buying news-reading app Summly.
Yahoo announced the move today in a blog post by Adam Cahan, senior vice president of mobile and emerging products. Summly is an app that uses an algorithm to pull out relevant information from news articles and turns them into neat paragraphs that fit on an iPhone screen, while also linking to the full article. The app, created by teenager Nick D'Aloisio, is a sort of CliffsNotes for the news.
The Summly app will be shut down, but Cahan said it will "come to life through Yahoo's mobile experiences soon." D'Aloisio and his team will be joining Yahoo in the company weeks, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
"Mobile devices are at the center of how we engage with the people, experiences and interests we love," Cahan said. "Across Yahoo, we're focused on creating beautiful experiences that people are excited to use every day -- products that inspire and delight. We can't wait to work with Nick and the Summly team to do just that."
Yahoo didn't disclose how much it's paying for Summly, but AllThingsD is reporting Yahoo paid $30 million, 90 percent in cash and 10 percent in stock. As the site noted, that's a pretty hefty price for Summly as it has been downloaded less than 1 million times since launch and it doesn't have clear plans for how to make money.
A Yahoo spokeswoman told CNET that D'Aloisio will remain in London and will become a part of Yahoo's mobile and emerging technologies team. She declined to provide further information about the deal.
We've contacted Summly for more information and will update the report when we have further details.
D'Aloisio's app started out as Trimit, which summarized the information in Web pages. He created it as a tool in 2011 at the age of 15 to help him comb through the vast amount of information he needed to review for his school work. Soon Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, founder and chairman of Horizon Ventures, invested $250,000 in D'Aloisio's company and Summly was born.
Since then, Summly has attracted investors like celebrities Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono, and Lady Gaga business manager Troy Carter; and tech notables lile AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky, Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman, and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus. Those angel investors bring Summly's total funds raised to $1 million.
D'Aloisio said in his own post that Yahoo and Summly are a "perfect fit."
"After spending some time on campus, I discovered that Yahoo has an inspirational goal to make people's daily routines entertaining and meaningful, and mobile will be a central part of that vision," D'Aloisio wrote.
Summly is an attractive buy for Yahoo as Mayer revs up her search for apps to bolster the company's presence in the mobile area. Mayer expressed during a quarterly earnings call that "a focused, coherent mobile strategy," is the company's top priority. The company boasted more than 500,000 downloads in its first month.
Along with Summly, Yahoo acquired Stamped, a recommendations engine app, in late October, and mobile video-chat startup OnTheAir earlier this month.
Updated at 8:50 a.m. PT and 3 p.m. PT with information about the possible deal price and comment from Yahoo.