M&A Process for Yahoo! Media Properties
Acquisitions in Silicon Valley are interesting. They depend on deep financial analysis and sometimes a gut check for whether an entity will yield returns for an acquiring party. Everything must fit after the paperwork is done and equity changes hands.
I'm not at all qualified for the financial part, but I can evaluate potential impact an acquisition can have on the product experience for users, opportunities for improving the advertising business, and cultural impact the purchase could bring on existing product teams.
I was asked to review a potential acquisition for Yahoo! media properties (Finance, News, Entertainment) and determine fit with the current roadmap and team. I partnered with an engineer knowledgeable on Yahoo!'s content platforms. While he was responsible for reviewing codebase and core functionality, I met with key stakeholders from product design, product management, and engineering leadership to make sure we did not have duplicate efforts already underway at Yahoo!. I also brought together key product stakeholders to brainstorm on improvements and risks the new technology could bring to several major properties--all core sources of advertising revenue. I also met one on one with the founders of the potential acquisition to better understand their company's strengths, weaknesses, and disposition to be acquired.
While I can't disclose how it turned out, I can say that executive leadership made a more informed decision than they might have had they only looked at transactional details. Moreover, I established a repeatable process for a more product- and user experience-oriented due diligence at Yahoo!.