Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2014 (Revised May 2015)

Yahoo: Both Sides of the Stamped Deal

by Jeffrey J. Bussgang and Lisa C. Mazzanti


In 2012, Marissa Mayer became the CEO of Yahoo!, a tech giant with a tumultuous past. When Mayer tries to reinvigorate the company, she hires Jacqueline Reses, who has a private equity background, to head both human resources and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). As part of Mayer's turnaround strategy, Reses looks to build a mobile technology product development team by executing an "acquisition-hire" (i.e., "acqui-hire") to acquire New York City-based start-up Stamped, a mobile application company launched by former Google employees, Robby Stein and Bart Stein. Without an M&A team that is fully staffed and before new acquisition processes have been formalized, Reses must decide whether acquiring Stamped is a wise strategy. The case also considers the perspective of Robby and Bart and explores if selling Stamped to Yahoo! and transitioning the Stamped team into Yahoo!'s mobile product development team is the right exit strategy for their start-up.

Keywords: mobile app; acquisition-hire; human resources; entrepreneurship; exit strategy; start-up; Mobile Technology; Mergers and Acquisitions; Human Resources; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Product Development; Technology Industry; Sunnyvale; New York (city, NY);


Bussgang, Jeffrey J., and Lisa C. Mazzanti. "Yahoo: Both Sides of the Stamped Deal." Harvard Business School Case 814-051, January 2014. (Revised May 2015.)