Yahoo's Readiness To Transform Business Tested By Acquisitions, Partnerships

It seems that Yahoo has found itself in the limelight this month -- emerging from the shadows with several important announcements that span from its advertising division to its sports platform. The changes came after in February the company laid off 20% of its workforce and shuttered its native advertising platform Gemini.

Yahoo Advertising announced a partnership Thursday with Pear Commerce, the retail ecommerce platform that connects consumer packaged goods (CPGs) companies to thousands of retailers -- about 3,000 at nearly 165,000 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

The Yahoo partnership focuses on Pear Connect, Pear Commerce’s newest shoppable tool that only takes one click on the path to purchase.

Supported by machine learning and a media-buying platform to optimize audience targeting, Peer Connect lets marketers customize the products that retailers display online.

The two companies also will unlock performance marketing across Yahoo Advertising's demand-side platform (DSP) to facilitate premium inventory buying and ad targeting. They say marketers will gain more insights and that the deal streamlines the shopping experience for shoppers through in-stock products availability from relevant retailers accessible directly from the ad unit.

Yahoo says it also will expand its Retail and CPG offering, including support of Media Networks like the Lowe’s One Roof Media Network.

Partnerships are only one part of Yahoo’s strategy to advance all aspects of its business.

Earlier this week, the company acquired Wagr, a peer-to-peer sports betting app with a mission to disrupt tradition and make sports betting more social. The goal is to integrate Wagr’s technology into Yahoo Sports.

Jon Shaw, senior vice president of Yahoo Sports, says the move came down to “a shared belief” in the “social dynamics of sports. “It’s much more fun when sports fans do it alongside their friends,” he said, which suggests that Yahoo plans to make its site more social and community orientated. “Everyone who loves sports, watch teams and follow players, make predictions, and play games. And it’s much more fun when they do it together with friends.”

About 65 million daily users visit Yahoo Sports, which highlights news and scores. The company also has a game platform, highlighted by fantasy sports, which includes football, basketball, baseball, hockey and others. Those who visit the game platform spend about 16 minutes per day on it.

Mario Malavé, co-founder and CEO of Wagr, will join Yahoo, along with the company’s 13 employees. It’s unclear of Malavé’s role at this time on the business team. It’s also not clear if Yahoo will retire the Wagr brand. One thing certain—the integration focuses on community and personalization.

Wagr, although a small company, has attracted significant investments from organizations, individuals, and venture capital firms including Seven Seven Six, led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian; Greycroft; Pear VC; the Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots and New England Revolution; Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils and BITKRAFT Ventures.


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