Best intentions
yahoo keep calm

Executives buying a hot Internet company sound so assured and optimistic. In conference calls to celebrate such deals, they invariably predict accelerated growth for the parent business, a pipeline of new complimentary products and an infusion of entrepreneurial zeal. Check in a few years later, however, and the results are usually mixed. Some Internet acquisitions live up to their blockbuster billing, but many, in fact, flop.

Yahoo's $1.1 billion deal for Tumblr, the online blogging service, is just the latest in a long list of Internet acquisitions that comes with high hopes. It's all the more risky because of Yahoo's horrendous track record of buying companies. The question is whether Yahoo has learned its lesson. In an unusually self-aware press release about the Tumblr acquisition, Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) alluded to its checkered history by saying it "promises not to screw it up."

Here's some of the highlights and lowlights in the relatively brief history of Internet acquisitions.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 21 2013 10:10 AM ET
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