Yahoo confirms $1.1B Tumblr buy, promises 'not to screw it up'

The blogging site will remain a separate entity after the mostly cash deal is completed, Yahoo says, with "the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators."

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Yahoo headquarters

Microblogging service Tumblr is being acquired by Yahoo.

Yahoo announced the deal early Monday, along with a "promise not to screw it up." The Internet pioneer is paying $1.1 billion for Tumblr, "substantially all of which is payable in cash," Yahoo said.

The news had been expected. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the Yahoo board had approved the deal.

Under the terms of the deal, Yahoo will allow Tumblr, which has over 300 million monthly unique visitors, to operate as a completely separate entity that retains "the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators." The company's founder and CEO David Karp will remain in his position.

"Our team isn't changing. Our roadmap isn't changing. And our mission -- to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve -- certainly isn't changing," Karp said on Monday in a statement. "But we're elated to have the support of Yahoo and their team who share our dream to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas. Tumblr gets better faster with more resources to draw from."

Yahoo didn't say specifically what it has planned for Tumblr, but did say that the service's more than 50 billion blog posts are valuable additions to Yahoo's services and search. In a conference call discussing the acquisition, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that she plans to integrate Tumblr in to Yahoo's home pages.

"The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance the user experience," Yahoo said. Mayer was similarly less-than-forthcoming in her conference call on exactly how Yahoo will create new advertising opportunities, but she did say that she hopes to make ads "aspirational."

This may not be the first time that Yahoo has made a play for Tumblr. A report back in 2009 suggested that Yahoo was in talks with Tumblr to acquire the company for "as much as $50 million." At that time, Karp said that Yahoo wasn't going to buy Tumblr. If those talks did, in fact, happen, it looks like Karp was right to wait.

The Tumblr deal is subject to customary closing conditions. If all goes well, the deal should close in the second half of 2013.

This story has been updated throughout the morning.

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