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"Here to invest": Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone looks for M&A opportunities

Nov 29, 2022
Photo illustration of Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone next to a pattern made from the exclamation point from the Yahoo logo.

Pictured: Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone. Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Yahoo

Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone just passed his 14-month anniversary at the helm of the web 1.0 internet company. And that means, after a year of "laying the foundation," it's time for some deals, he tells Axios.

Why it matters: Speaking of that, Lanzone and the company are fresh off an ad-tech deal, which Yahoo announced Monday. Lanzone shared more details in an interview in which he outlined his vision for the company and potential transactions ahead.

The interview has been lightly edited for length.

What's the significance of the Taboola deal?

  • It's really important to think about Yahoo's new place in the world. We're private again.... We're in a position to be able to think about growth for the long term.
  • One huge part of that is growing our consumer property for the long term, whether that's Yahoo Finance or Yahoo Sports or News or any of the properties that add up to hundreds of millions of users a month. We want to get that into a billion.
  • The other side is we operate one of the largest ad platforms on the internet. Native advertising is part of that. With this deal, we’re now able to partner with the leader in the space, Taboola.... We’re obviously huge believers in the future of digital advertising.... I've seen a lot of ups and downs. That line over the long term is up and to the right.

How do you plan on improving other parts of the ad tech business?

  • We’re here to invest. Investing means not only innovating internally but being open to all partnerships, all M&A possibilities. We’re going to be patient with that and let the market come to us.
  • Online advertising and our technology and our own advertising marketplace is a massive asset.... You can be sure that it's a place that we'll look to invest over time.

You've said you're considering spinning off parts of Yahoo into separate businesses. What scenarios would that make sense in?

  • What we've said is that we have the ability to spin them off. I would not say it's a priority to spin them off. Our priority is on investment in the most important properties that we own, and the good news is that they all operate and compete in their own independent markets.
  • Building the value of the overall portfolio is by far our number one priority. Over time, that could mean an outcome or an IPO for the company overall ... or it could mean optionality for any one of them.

See also: Yahoo eyes retail stock trading in major growth push

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