Yahoo acquiring Tomfoolery, a social networking startup for business

Tomfoolery's Anchor product will be shut down, the company said

Yahoo is acquiring Tomfoolery, a startup that makes software to better connect employees on the desktop and mobile, it was announced Wednesday.

"We've reached an agreement to join Yahoo to help build the next generation of communications and community products," Tomfoolery CEO Kakul Srivastava, a Yahoo alum, said on the company's blog, confirming reports earlier in the week that Yahoo was in talks to buy the firm.

Terms were not disclosed, although a previous report in The Wall Street Journal cited a price tag of roughly US$16 million. Yahoo could not be immediately reached to comment. The deal is expected to close in the next few days, San Francisco-based Tomfoolery said.

Tomfoolery's flagship product was Anchor, which provided various networking functions aimed at businesses such as group chats, file sharing, and email and voice calling. The software combined features that could otherwise be found in separate services like Facebook or Microsoft Outlook.

Anchor could be accessed from the Web, though it was focused on iOS and Android-based devices. As of Wednesday new user sign-ups were disabled, Tomfoolery said in its announcement, and the product will be shut down upon the deal's closing.

In its announcement, Tomfoolery said it would be building "the next generation of social Yahoo products." Few other details were given, though Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has said that growing the Internet company's offerings in the area of social media would be an important element in Yahoo's mission to attract users and advertisers.

Yahoo has also been on a buying spree since Mayer took the reins as CEO in 2012. During a conference call Tuesday regarding Yahoo's most recent financial results, Mayer said the company would continue to look for opportunities for "talent acquisitions." Mayer also stressed the importance of technologies and engineering talent that is aligned with Yahoo services in the areas of search, digital magazines, video, Flickr and Tumblr.

If Tomfoolery is focused on incorporating its technology into a new Yahoo communications product, the company might be able to do so smoothly, given the background of some of its employees. Tomfoolery CEO Srivastava formerly helped to build Yahoo's Flickr, Messenger and Mail services, while co-founder Simon Batistoni was part of Yahoo's search team.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and servicesTomfoolerysocial networkingmobilesocial mediainternetMergers and acquisitionsmobile applicationsYahoo

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Zach Miners

IDG News Service
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