Yahoo acquires Bignoggins

AP, SUNNYVALE, California

Wed, Jul 03, 2013 - Page 15

Yahoo has bought Silicon Valley startup Bignoggins Productions as part of its quest for more bright ideas in mobile applications.

The acquisition of Bignoggins announced on Monday is the latest in a series of mostly small deals that Yahoo Inc has completed since the Internet company hired Marissa Meyer as its chief executive officer nearly a year ago.

Mayer, a longtime executive with Google Inc before defecting to Yahoo, has been paying relatively small amounts to bring in more compelling technology and mobile engineering talent.

As with most of the other acquisitions completed since Mayer’s arrival, Yahoo did not disclose how much it is paying for Bignoggins. That is a sign the price was too small to have a significant impact on Yahoo, which ended March with US$5.4 billion in cash.

A chunk of that money has since been spent on Yahoo’s US$1.1 billion acquisition of blogging service Tumblr, by far the biggest deal during Mayer’s tenure.

Although the Bignoggins deal did not dent Yahoo’s wallet, it represents a coup for Bignoggins founder Jerry Shen.

He quit his job as a software engineer shortly after starting Bignoggins in San Jose, California, three years ago and proceeded to develop a series of mobile apps for players in fantasy sports leagues.

Bignoggins apps such as “Fantasy Monster” and “Draft Monster” proved to be popular enough to convince fantasy sports players to pay for the service, helping Shen to finance a trip around the world.

Shen, 30, is joining Yahoo’s mobile engineering team at the company’s Sunnyvale, California, headquarters.

Yahoo is not going to keep distributing Bignoggins apps, but will blend some of the underlying technology into its own services for playing in fantasy sports leagues.