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Yahoo acquires start-up RockMelt in another multimillion-dollar deal

08.05.13_technewsrprt_img_stories_regina-timothy_rockmelt

Yahoo Inc. has acquired the social Web browser Rockmelt in a move to scoop up technology and engineering talent for its media and mobile technologies and expertise, according to reports.

Yahoo did not disclose financial terms of the deal, but a source close to the situation said the price was between $US60 million and $US70 million.

“The team has built a simple and beautiful technology that combines social, personalisation and discovery to help you not only find what you’re looking for, but also stumble across some cool stuff along the way,” Yahoo senior vice president of mobile Adam Cahan said in a blog post.

Yahoo will get 32 RockMelt employees as part of the deal, including RockMelt CEO and co-founder Eric Vishria, who will become vice president of products for Yahoo’s media properties and RockMelt chief technology officer and co-founder Tim Howes, who will become vice president of engineering for Yahoo’s mobile products, according to the source.

Yahoo will shut down RockMelt’s existing apps and website. in 30 days and integrate the technology into Yahoo’s media platform to “deliver content in new ways”, a yahoo spokeswoman said.

“Yahoo! and Rockmelt share a common goal: To help people discover the best content from around the web,” explains a blog post from Rockmelt co-founders Eric Vishria and Tim Howes.

“In our short four and a half years at Rockmelt, we’ve learned a lot about how you like to browse the web, discover content, and share the great stuff you’ve found… You’ve taught us a ton. And we plan to put everything we’ve learned to work at Yahoo!”

The company launched a desktop web-browsing application in 2010 with an emphasis on social networking features, before shifting strategy in 2012 to focus on mobile apps.

Then, in April 2013, Rockmelt launched a new website promising “a visual stream of the web” combining updates from other sites and social networks. Now it will be putting its engineering talent to use within Yahoo.

RockMelt raised roughly $US40 million in funding from venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Accel Partners and Khosla Partners.

Rockmelt is Yahoo’s 21st acquisition since Mayer took the reins in July 2012: a spree that has included social recommendation apps (Stamped, Alike, Jybe); social networking and media-sharing startups (Snip.it, Ghostbird Software, Rondee) and games companies (Loki Studios, Playerscale, Bignoggins Productions), as well as the $1.1bn acquisition of blogging platform Tumblr.

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