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Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw up” Tumblr, but she totally has

Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer, left, listens as Tumblr CEO David Karp speaks during a Yahoo presentation at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Well, that was a mistake.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer bought Tumblr for a cool $1 billion in 2013, she pledged ”not to screw it up.” Two years later, it’s become apparent that Yahoo has failed on that promise.

Today (July 18), the beleaguered tech company said it took $482 million in impairment charges for the blogging platform in the second quarter, essentially admitting that Tumblr is not performing as expected. This comes after a $230 million writedown by Yahoo in the fourth quarter of 2015.

A bit of simple arithmetic puts Tumblr’s value after these charges at about $290 million. This is not only less than a third of its purchase price, but it’s also less than the value of Tumblr’s assets when it was acquired two years ago.

Tumblr’s revenue gets lumped into Yahoo’s Mavens business, a catch-all term Mayer coined that stands for mobile, video, native, and social. The company hasn’t broken out Tumblr’s sales, but Mayer had projected $100 million in revenue from the unit in 2015. Yahoo chief financial officer Ken Goldman said in February that it “did not deliver” on the goal.

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