As I’m sure you’ve read by now, Yahoo! announced earlier in the week it had acquired Maven Networks for approximately $160 million. While I see some of the synergy of the deal, I think Yahoo! paid too much. Based on the price tag, Yahoo! paid about 11x the sales revenue that Maven had in 2007. It’s a good deal for Maven shareholders, but for Yahoo!, that’s a high evaluation in my eyes in today’s market.
Clearly, Yahoo! bought Maven for their technology platform and IP, but at some point, you have to also look at the buy vs. build numbers. Acquiring Maven gives Yahoo! a platform today, as opposed to them having to build one themselves, but at what cost? Considering the state of the rest of Yahoo! business, selling a software video platform is very different than the way Yahoo! has sold everything else for years. And not really knowing what Yahoo! strategy is as a whole moving forward casts doubt on what will truly become of a Maven/Yahoo! integration.
While it sounds like the product will still be branded under the Maven name, Yahoo! should re-brand this immediately and bring it under the Yahoo! brand. With the sate of flux that Yahoo! is in as a company, I think it needs to do everything it can to put forth one clear brand, strategy and core set of products. I think over time the Maven platform could be a good core product for Yahoo!, but only time will tell how successful the integration will be and whether or not Yahoo! sticks to the set of current products offerings they have in the market today. In my eyes, it’s hard to for Yahoo! to say to the market that it is dedicated to any product platform, while at the same time laying off 1,000 employees. How much will Yahoo! truly support the Maven platform with additional dev work and new products features and functionality?