Marissa Mayer had all the winds at her back when she took over as CEO of Yahoo in 2013. She enjoyed a reputation as a Silicon Valley wunderkind, known for her role as an early employee of and the first female engineer at Google. As Yahoo's chief executive, she had all the resources an ailing but still-rich company could offer: "a cooperative board, a truckload of cash, and one billion monthly visitors," per a recent feature in Variety. Yet she couldn't manage to turn Yahoo's fortunes around.
The company is expected to be sold. Bidders are reportedly poised to offer between $2 and $3 billion for the Sunnyvale-based tech conglomerate's core business--not even half the $8 billion the company predicted it would go for, and not enough to justify Mayer's many investments.
In the eyes of critics, Mayer spent wantonly in her three years leading Yahoo. The feature published Tuesday by Variety details several of her expenditures and their later costs. Here's a list reflecting the many ways beleaguered Yahoo lost its billions under the leadership of Mayer, per Variety.
- $1 billion: Amount Yahoo spent to purchase Tumblr;
- $584 million: Amount Yahoo spent to acquire video-ad platform BrightRoll;
- $2.8 billion: Amount Yahoo is estimated to have spent to acquire as many as 50 companies total (including the ones above) under Mayer's leadership;
- $1.2 billion: Goodwill impairment charges related to acquisitions from 2012 and forward;
- $230 million: Write-down on Tumblr included in those charges;
- $42 million: Write-down on original series after Yahoo exited TV-style entertainment;
- $450 million: Amount Yahoo allegedly spent on free food for employees over four years;
- $7 million: Amount reportedly spent on a holiday party; Mayer later claimed this figure and the one above were "exaggerated by more than a factor of three";
- $10 million: Reported annual value of Yahoo's deal with Katie Couric;
- $200 million: Amount offered for video site Dailymotion (the deal never happened, as Dailymotion was acquired by Vivendi).
*Editor's note: This story was updated to include Marissa Mayer's claim on an earnings call that reports of Yahoo's food and party spending were "exaggerated by more than a factor of three," and to reflect the final sale price of BrightRoll.