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Yahoo’s evolution from rising to fading Internet star

Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images/file 2013

1994: Stanford University computer graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo begin compiling ‘‘David’s and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web’’ in a trailer on campus. Within a few months, they change the name to ‘‘Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,’’ which is abbreviated to Yahoo.

1995: Yahoo incorporates as a company, raises its first $1 million in venture capital and hires Tim Koogle as CEO to replace Yang.

1996: Yahoo prices its initial public offering of stock at a split-adjusted 54 cents per share. The shares closed at a split-adjusted $1.375 on the first day of trading. Its shares finished at $39.38 last week.


1997: Yahoo launches its free email service after acquiring the technology in a $94 million purchase of Four11.

1999: Yahoo buys Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion, giving it key technology to stream audio over the Internet. Broadcast.com founder Mark Cuban sold most of his Yahoo stock before the dot-com crash to become billionaire.

2000: Yahoo’s stock peaks at a split-adjusted $125, giving the company a market value of about $130 billion.

Shortly after, Yahoo hires Google to power its search engine results. As part of the deal, Yahoo puts Google’s brand next to its search engine box, helping to raise the profile of a company that would play a pivotal role in Yahoo’s demise.

2001: Yahoo hired former Warner Bros. movie studio chief Terry Semel as its CEO to replace Koogle.

2003: Yahoo buys Overture Services for $1.3 billion in one of a series of deals aimed at challenging Google’s leadership in internet search.

2004: Yahoo drops Google as its search engine provider. Later in the year, Google went public and Yahoo began selling some of the stock that it received in its rival as part of the 2000 search engine deal and a legal dispute over alleged patent settlements. Yahoo reaped a nearly $1.4 billion profit by selling all of its Google stock.


Google shares, now traded as Alphabet Inc., have quadrupled since Yahoo disposed of its take.

2005: Yahoo invests $1 billion to acquire a 40 percent stake in Alibaba Group, then a small internet startup in China. Yahoo eventually sold Alibaba stock worth nearly $17 billion during 2013 and 2014. It still owns about 384 million shares of Alibaba stock currently worth about $32 billion.

2007: Semel resigns under shareholder pressure and Yahoo names Yang as his replacement.

2008: Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion. The bid is eventually raised to $47 billion before Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer abruptly rescinds the offer after Yang demands even more money.

Activist investor Carl Icahn launches an attempt to overthrow Yahoo’s board before reaching a settlement that gives him a seat in the boardroom.

Yang ends the year by resigning as CEO.

2009: Yahoo names longtime technology executive Carol Bartz as its new CEO. Bartz negotiates a deal to run Yahoo’s search engine on Microsoft’s Bing technology for the next decade.

2011: Yahoo fires Bartz as its CEO, and names Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse as its interim leader.

2012: Yahoo hires former PayPal executive Scott Thompson as CEO. Another activist investor, Daniel Loeb, threatens a shareholder mutiny and then discovers Thompson’s official biography included a fictitious college degree. Thompson steps down as CEO after just four months, leaving Ross Levinsohn as the company’s interim leader.


Later in the year, Yahoo persuades Marissa Mayer to defect from Google to become its CEO.

2013: Mayer buys internet blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion, in the biggest deal of her tenure. Yahoo has absorbed $712 million in accounting charges to reflect Tumblr has lost nearly two-thirds of its value since the purchase.

2015: Mayer begins year by promising that it will complete a tax-free spin-off of its Alibaba stake into a new holding company call Aabaco. Mayer calls off the proposed spin-off at the end of the year, citing uncertainty whether the tax dodge would work as envisioned.

2016: As Mayer begins to lay off 15 percent of Yahoo’s workforce, the company’s board opens the bidding for Yahoo’s internet operations in February.

On Monday, Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo for $4.83 billion. Yahoo will be rolled into Verizon’s AOL operations.