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Like the Phoenix from its Ashes: StumbleUpon Buys Itself Back from eBay



stumbleupon_collage-300x300First there were the acquisition rumors, then the acquisition. Then there were the sale rumors. Now, eBay has sold StumbleUpon—to the social discovery app (and its funders) itself.

In May 2007, eBay purchased StumbleUpon at $75 million, to much confusion in the blogosphere. At the time, eBay was taking a “wait and see” approach before integrating any of its holdings with the sharing and discovery toolbar. Just under two years later, with the help of well-known VCs, the service is returning to its roots as an independent start up, including bringing the founders, Garrett Camp and Geoff Smith, back.

Camp, who will take the CEO role, said in the release:

We are grateful to eBay for its guidance. However, we realized there were few long-term synergies between the two businesses. It is best for us to part ways and focus on our respective strengths

*forehead smack*

It took them two years to see that there were “few long-term synergies” between a way to navigate to web pages people like and an online auction service? What were the short-term synergies?

Wait, wait—don’t tell me. There were 75 million short-term synergies, huh?

If I had to bet, I’d say that the price was right at the time for a popular and well-hyped web service. But since then, the value has tumbled with the rest of the economy—and since their then-parent couldn’t figure out what to do with them anyway. Buying themselves out of the eBay stable still probably left StumbleUpon with a net gain.

Meanwhile, eBay continues to struggle with its direction with its VoIP service, Skype, and finding the long-term synergies there. Is the popular telephony service the next to leave eBay’s fold?

What do you think? Is StumbleUpon better off on its own? Why did eBay acquire them in the first place?

  • http://www.debtfreescholar.com/ Nate @ Debt-free Scholar

    I wonder why Ebay ever bought Stumble Upon. I cannot think of one way that they benefit each other! Unless it gives Ebay free advertising…. ;)

    – Nate

    Nate @ Debt-free Scholar’s last blog post..Book Review: The New SAT

  • http://www.webbythoughts.com/ Mike

    I like them on their own. It probably gives them greater flexibility to add/change features. And it has to be better for their “cool” factor than being run by eBay.

    Mike’s last blog post..Recovering from a hacked WordPress blog

  • http://franklinbishop.net/ Blog Expert

    Did not see that coming. I thought SU was starting to bite. Hopefully that helps.

    Blog Expert’s last blog post..3 Top Benefits of Shared Blogs

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    just 3-4 years ago they was craziness in mergers and acquisitions, now since the economy has tumble poor ones are easy to spot.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Back To Work and Happy About It?

  • http://www.mydating.com.my/ rachel from malaysia

    i trust they got their own reason behind, we just wait n see..

  • http://symbiancorner.blogspot.com William

    Looks like Ebay losing all what it got last few years.

    William’s last blog post..Free Skype VoIP client in Nokia phones

  • http://blog.simplycast.com/ Michael

    I think they will be fine out on their own. I had forgotten all about ebay even owning them in the first place.

    Also agree with Mike on the cool factor as well.

    Michael’s last blog post..Swing for the fences to retain subscribers

  • Pingback: Common Sense eCommerce » What going on with eBay Acquisitions?

  • http://www.worldwatching.co.uk Tony

    “We are grateful to eBay for its guidance. However, we realized there were few long-term synergies between the two businesses. It is best for us to part ways and focus on our respective strengths”

    What a nice and polite way of saying, ebay basically didnt have a clue what they were doing and talking about.

    It seems to me that any company that gets sucked into ebay Inc, very quickly follows the ebay core business into steep decline.

    Tony’s last blog post..39 years for the murder of 2 Brits in the Canary Islands

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