Yahoo! CEO Bartz said that 2010 will be a year of acquisitions for the company. And she emphasized local in a discussion with Bloomberg/BusinessWeek:
Bartz, previously CEO of Autodesk, says she’s interested in ways to bolster Yahoo’s local content. “Local is extemely important,” she says in response to a question about whether Yahoo might try to buy Yelp, which lets users post reviews of nearby businesses. “People do some outrageous percentage of their commercial spending five miles from their home.”
The immediate question is: Will Yahoo! make a run at Yelp? It would make sense but the price might be too rich for Yahoo! at this point. Yahoo! Local used to be the leading local destination but it has suffered from several years of neglect. Yahoo! Maps was also the category leader and innovator several years ago. That would be an area where an acquisition would make sense.
The article also says that Bartz wants to buy users:
Bartz is interested in purchases that bring Yahoo more users, “whether it’s a place like Mexico, a place like Brazil,” she says. In 2009 Yahoo bought Arabic Web site Maktoob.com and, with a partner, Australian travel site totaltravel.com.
Historically Yahoo! has bought properties only to see them languish or shut them down in many cases. Recently Yahoo! outsourced most of it shopping engine to PriceGrabber. Absent that move I would have argued that Milo or Krillion would have been a good buy in shopping (tied to local).
There were rumors that the company was looking to sell Yahoo! Small Business. If that’s so the company probably wouldn’t want to buy a company like Yodle (or Clickable or Kenshoo), which would otherwise make sense if it were pushing more aggressively into the SMB segment.
Mobile is an area where Yahoo! needs to make some successful moves in 2010. That might mean an ad network or “exchange” or a consumer property (Loopt?). It could also mean technology, such as voice search vendor Vlingo, which Yahoo! has invested in.
A service like Aardvark could also be an interesting crossover PC-mobile acquisition that would complement Yahoo! Answers.
What are the other potential acquisitions that Yahoo might make in local (or social, verticals, mobile)? What do you think?