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Social startups: The hot ones are getting snapped up (pictures)

Yahoo and Tumblr are only the latest pairing involving an older, established tech company paying top dollar for a small, smart startup in the social-networking space.

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Charles Cooper
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper
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1 of 7 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Yahoo and Tumblr

Back in the day, Yahoo took a try at buying Facebook, but that went nowhere. Now it's taking another crack -- in a big way; we'll have to wait for the official release and conference call, but the deal is apparently done: As Marissa Mayer pursues her remodeling of Yahoo, Tumblr is the latest social service to sell out to a more established company.

Take a look back at some others...

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2 of 7 Justin Sullivan

Facebook and Instagram

Why would Facebook plunk down for $1 billion for a company that only a few months earlier was valued at half that amount? Sum it up in one word: Trendline. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2012 saw that Instagram's passionate users were growing in leaps and bounds in the one area where Facebook was lagging at the time -- mobile. At the time, the deal looked pricey. After all, we're not talking about Monopoly money. But this was a long-term investment, and if Facebook can successfully navigate the transition to mobile, we'll look back upon the Instagram acquisition the way most folks now view Google's purchase of YouTube.

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Microsoft and Yammer

Some thought enterprise social networking was a contradiction in terms. Hardly. Microsoft paid $1.2 billion in 2012 to buy Yammer even though it had been developing its own Yammer competitor at the time, known as OfficeTalk. For Microsoft, Office remains one of the company's biggest cash cows and the idea was to weave Yammer's technology throughout Office (as well as Skype).

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4 of 7 LinkedIn

LinkedIn and Slideshare

LinkedIn last year paid nearly $119 million to buy Slideshare, which developed a platform that let users share presentations and videos -- the big idea here being social discovery for people with similar interests. It didn't hurt that it had a growing roster of enterprise fans including IBM, along with heavy-hitting investors including Venrock and Mark Cuban.

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Salesforce and Buddy Media

Salesforce last summer paid $689 million to buy social marketer Buddy Media, just weeks after rival Oracle made a similar move into social media marketing when it paid $300 million to acquire Vitrue.

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6 of 7 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google and Wildfire

Google last summer paid a reported $350 million to buy social ad company Wildfire, a consolation prize after losing out on the bidding for Buddy Media.

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7 of 7 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Oracle and, well, a lot of social companies

In 2012, Oracle went on a spending spree for social companies with the acquisitions of Vitrue, Eloqua, Collective Intellect, and Involver.

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