At its peak during the dotcom bubble, stock prices for sucessful internet companies reached astronomical levels. The cuthroat competion saw many big players going for huge and in some cases illadvised buyouts. Here we list the 10 greatest takeovers in the history of the Internet.
Started as AudioNet in 1995, the web radio company rode big on the dotcom boom and was acquired by Yahoo for $5.7 billion in stock. The homepage currently just redirects to yahoo.com
Netscape was once the dominant browser on the scene but eventually lost heavily to Internet Explorer. Acquired by AOL for $4.2 billion in 1998, it was disbanded in 2003. The Netscape legacy continued however and in 1998, Mozilla rose from its ashes.
At its peak it was the most popular webhosting service on the internet. Founded in late 1994, Geocities was unpopularly taken over by Yahoo for $3.7 billion in 1997. Like most Yahoo takeovers, it never became profitable again and was folded in late 2009. As of now, the Japanese Geocities was still breathing its last.
One of the pioneers of online collaboration, WebEx produced one of the first software with offline browsing capabilities. It was acquired in 2007 by Cisco for $3.2 billion.
Although it did not pioneer Peer 2 Peer Voice over IP, Skype has revolutionized communication on the internet with its high performance proprietary protocol. Based in Sweden and developed by Estonian developers, it was acquired by Ebay in 2005 for $2.5 billion. Ebay later sold 70% of Skype to a consortium for $2.75 billion.
The Q&A search engine was once taken seriously on the internet, so seriously that it managed to get acquired by InterActiveCorp for $1.85 billion. The company soon realized that it had bought itself a white elephant and soon outsourced the technology to an unspecified third party.
7. CNET Networks
Ever since it was founded in 1994, CNET Networks has exerted a measure of influence over web media. It was acquired by CBS Corporation in 2008 for $1.8 billion and at that time boasted 200 million unique monthly viewers.
8. Overture Services Inc.
Overture Services Inc. or GoTo.com was one of the first successful pay-for-placement services. Yahoo was one of Overture’s biggest customers and it took over for $1.63 billion in 2003. The service is now known as Yahoo Search Marketing.
It would be fair to say that Youtube kicked the internet towards a whole new direction and subculture. After its launch in 2005, Youtube exploded in popularity and within a year, was seeing 65,000 new uploads every day. Predictably, it attracted a lot of interest and was eventually acquired by Google for $1.65 billion. Youtube is currently the third most visited site on the internet.
The online payment company was founded in 2000 and soon crushed all competition. By 2002, Paypal was the payment method of choice for more than 50% of Ebay users and naturally, Ebay acquired it for a sum of $1.5 billion. Although it faces some competition, Paypal still exercises an almost monopolizing hold over online payment.