Chart: The Rise and Fall of Yahoo
The 20 year roller coaster for Yahoo finally ends
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
The saga surrounding one of the world’s most recognizable internet stocks has come to a close.
Yahoo has finally sold its operating business to the highest bidder. The winner was Verizon – and the price was $4.8 billion.
That’s worth less than 1% of the company it had multiple opportunities to buy: Google (now Alphabet).
Technology changes fast, and successful companies must leverage smart acquisitions in building for the future. Facebook bought Oculus Rift and Instagram, and Google bought companies like Youtube, DoubleClick, Boston Dynamics, and DeepMind to help flush out its strategy.
The executives running Yahoo have a rough track record in reading industry tea leaves. It’s not just about the deals they made, but it’s also the deals they failed to make.
In the end, a lack of execution with acquisitions proved to be the company’s Achilles’ Heel.
In 1998, Yahoo was approached by two young Stanford Ph.D. students to buy their search engine algorithm. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had created PageRank – a quick way to find the most relevant website for a given search query. Yahoo skipped out on buying it for $1 million, rationalizing that it would take people off of Yahoo’s website, while decreasing traffic and ad revenues.
Even later on when Google’s search business was well-established, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel balked at Larry and Sergey’s $1 billion asking price. He would eventually agree to it, but by then it was too late. The Google guys had already decided to up their price to a heftier $3 billion.
Around that same time, Yahoo was turned down by a 22-year-old Mark Zuckerberg. Yahoo offered to buy Facebook for $1 billion, but Zuckerberg declined. This was a moment that billionaire Facebook investor Peter Thiel lauds as the major turning point for the company that allowed it to become the behemoth it is today. Some sources even say that if the offer was increased to $1.1 billion, that Facebook’s board would have forced Zuckerberg to take it.
But it’s not just the offers made that were missed opportunities. Yahoo also turned down a hostile takeover from Microsoft in 2008 for $44.6 billion that valued the company for far more than it is worth today.
Deals that Bombed
Finally, the deals that did close were unable to add any value to the company.
Yahoo famously made two acquisitions in 1999 that are now ranked by Forbes as some of the worst internet acquisitions of all-time.
The first was a $4.58 billion deal for Geocities, a site that enabled users to build their own personal websites. While Geocities was a pioneer in this regard, it eventually was shuttered in 2009 after failing to deliver any value to Yahoo shareholders.
The second was the famous $5.7 billion deal for Broadcast.com, an online television site that was founded by Mark Cuban. Perhaps way ahead of its time, internet connections were too slow in 1999 to run this type of video content off the web.
Yahoo also bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013. While it is not ranked as one of the worst acquisitions of all time, it is not doing particularly well either.
Yahoo’s Saving Grace
There was one M&A decision that wasn’t a whiff. In 2005, the company bought a 40% stake in emerging online retail company Alibaba. The remainder of those holdings, now worth $30 billion, make up the majority of Yahoo’s market capitalization today.
In the context of the recent Verizon deal, the Alibaba shares are likely being spun off into a separate investment vehicle.
The eSports Boom, and the Numbers Behind the Sector’s Explosive Growth
Everything you need to know about the eSports Boom, including the sector’s rapid growth, massive prize pools, and the most valuable eSports companies today.
The oldest professional sport teams can trace their start back to the mid-19th century, a period when casual past times such as baseball or football transitioned into more organized leagues.
Since this tipping point, pro sports has thrived around the world, and the business of sports has evolved into a multi-billion dollar ecosystem for teams, leagues, players, merchandisers, sponsors, broadcasters, and event spaces.
Today, this evolution still continues – and it is being driven by the emergence of eSports (electronic sports), an exciting frontier for fans and business alike.
Today’s chart breaks down the eSports boom, including data on the sector’s rapid growth, prize pools, and the most valuable eSports companies today.
Despite having a reputation in the media and in popular culture as being on the fringes, it is clear that gaming is now a truly mainstream phenomenon.
In fact, the global gaming industry has now eclipsed $135 billion in revenue worldwide – a figure that is twice as much as the film and music industries combined.
With hundreds of millions of avid fans around the world, demand to watch the most elite gamers has reached a fever pitch – and now, it’s not uncommon to see sold-out arenas, big name sponsorship deals, and massive prize pools in the name of eSports.
Defining the eSports Ecosystem
Like any professional league, eSports creates the foundation for an entire ecosystem of opportunities.
Players are central to the ecosystem, since they are the stars and they have their own personalities. One famous star is Kuro Takhasomi (KuroKy), who has brought in a whopping $4.2 million in prize money from Dota 2 tournaments so far. He has earned more than any other player in eSports.
Because the games played are mostly team-based, there is a crucial element of teamwork involved. eSports franchises are currently selling for millions of dollars. It’s worth noting that these franchises don’t just employ players – they also hire staff that can better ensure the success of players, such as coaches, trainers, and personal chefs.
Games and Developers
Some of the most important games in the eSports world right now include: Dota 2, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, and Call of Duty.
Leagues and tournaments can offer massive prize pools for players. The biggest single pool so far was $25.5 million, offered for a Dota 2 tournament in 2017 (“The International”). It’s the second-largest prize pool offered in any kind of sport, behind the U.S. Open (tennis).
Running eSports events is big money, and organizers of events can tap into sponsorship and fan revenue. Sometimes game publishers will organize the events, but third-party ones also exist in the ecosystem.
Sponsors like Coca-Cola, Intel, and Mercedes-Benz have shelled out millions of dollars to sponsor events and reach the massive audiences associated with eSports. In more recent news, SAP signed a deal to sponsor one of the biggest names, Team Liquid.
Broadcasters, both traditional and online (YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, etc.), are also in to get a part of the action. Recently, game developer Blizzard signed a broadcasting deal with Disney to broadcast Overwatch League playoffs on ESPN, ABC, and Disney XD.
What do you think is the most exciting part of the eSports boom, and why?
Visualizing the Unicorn Landscape in 2019
Breaking down the world’s 326 unicorns – privately-held startups valued at over $1 billion – by country, sector, and valuation.
Visualizing the Unicorn Landscape in 2019
It was only six years ago that venture capitalist Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” to describe any privately-held startup worth $1 billion or more.
At the time, such valuations were so rare that they deserved a special name – but since then, it’s fair to say that the landscape has shifted dramatically. The startup boom intensified, and capital flowed into private companies at an unprecedented pace.
In recent times, unicorns have multiplied more like rabbits, and investors have propped up the combined value of the world’s 326 unicorns to the tune of $1.1 trillion.
Breaking down the World’s 326 Unicorns
Today’s chart uses data from the Unicorn Tracker created by CB Insights, and it breaks down the unicorn landscape by sector, valuation, and country.
Let’s start by looking at the biggest unicorns currently in existence:
|#5||JUUL Labs||$38||United States||Other|
|#9||Epic Games||$15||United States||Other|
ByteDance is the world’s largest unicorn at a $75 billion valuation. The company owns Toutiao, a popular machine-learning enabled content platform in China that customizes feeds based on a user’s reading preferences. It also owns video sharing platform Tik Tok.
Experts are estimating that over 100 unicorns could IPO in 2019, including Uber and Airbnb from the above list.
So far this year, Lyft and Pinterest have already hit the public market – and another recent unicorn to IPO was conferencing platform Zoom Video, which has seen shares increase 120% in price since its impressive mid-April debut.
Unicorns by Sector
The two most common sectors for unicorns are Internet Software Services and E-commerce.
|Sector||# of Unicorns||Valuation ($B)|
|Internet Software Services||82||$153|
However, as you can see, the segment most valued by investors is On-Demand, which includes companies like Uber, Didi Chuxing, and DoorDash.
Unicorns by Geography
Nearly half of the world’s unicorns come from the U.S., but China also has an impressive roster of highly valued startups.
|Country||# of Unicorns||%|
|Rest of World||32||9.8%|
Strangely, outside of the six major countries listed above, the rest of the world only combines for a measly 32 unicorns – less than 10% of the global total.
Unicorns by Valuation
Seven unicorns – including Uber, WeWork, Airbnb, and ByteDance – account for almost 30% of all of the value of the entire landscape.
|Valuation Range||# of Unicorns||Value ($B)||% of Value|
The bottom of the pyramid ($1-5 billion in valuation) holds 280 companies. Added together, they are worth $461 billion, which is equal to 42.5% of the unicorn total.
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