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Yahoo! acquires celebrity-backed app start-up Stamped

Friday, 26 October 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Yahoo! has made its first acquisition under the direction of chief executive Marissa Mayer, snapping up celebrity-backed mobile recommendations app Stamped for an undisclosed sum.


Mayer, a former Google executive who assumed the reins of Yahoo! in July, has been charged with the task of turning around the embattled company.


Her strategy appears to include start-ups, after Yahoo! announced it has acquired mobile recommendations app Stamped, which is just a year old.


Stamped is backed by a number of major venture capital firms and celebrities including Bain Capital Ventures, Google Ventures, US pop star Justin Bieber, comedian Ellen DeGeneres and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.


The news comes after Yahoo! released its third quarter earnings earlier this week. Earnings-per-share were 35 cents on revenue of $1.09 billion, compared to analysts’ estimates of 26 cents per share on revenue of $1.08 billion.


At the time of the announcement, Mayer said Yahoo! did not have “particular acquisitions in mind”.


However, she said any future acquisitions would be less than $100 million. It’s believed the Stamped deal fell into this price range.


Stamped, which first launched as an iPhone app in November last year, allows users to keep track of and share things they like such as restaurants, books, films and other apps.


Users can also tap into friends’ recommendations and those of well-known personalities.


The nine-person team, which includes five former Google employees, will join a large mobile product team that Yahoo! plans to establish in New York.


It’s worth noting Mayer worked closely with Stamped co-founder Robby Stein while they were both employed by Google.


The new mobile product team will be led by the three co-founders of Stamped. The start-up’s iPhone and web apps will be discontinued, suggesting the deal was solely a talent buyout.


According to Adam Cahan, Yahoo! senior vice president of emerging products and technology, mobile has become one of the company’s most important priorities.


“We’re accelerating our efforts to build a world-class team of mobile engineers, product managers and designers,” Cahan said in a company blog post.


“The entire Stamped team are a natural fit for us.”


“Their experience building fun, useful, personalised mobile products aligns well with Yahoo!’s vision to create the best everyday mobile experience for our users.”


“They will be a great asset as we expand Yahoo!’s mobile efforts and build a world-class mobile development organisation.”


In its own blog post, the Stamped co-founders made a point of thanking the start-up’s users.


“You helped us live our dream, and we’re fortunate enough to be able to continue to do so at Yahoo!,” they said.