Yahoo Set to Buy Hitpost to Augment Sports Offerings
Yahoo's buying spree continues unabated, as reports emerge suggesting the company plans to pick up the sports app maker Hitpost in a deal of as yet unknown valuation. But the motivation behind it is perhaps even more noteworthy than the deal itself is, as Hitpost makes several mobile apps all geared around sports.
The good news is that the acquisition is set to result in no layoffs, as the reports indicate that, upon acquisition, Hitpost's team of approximately seven will be making the jump to Yahoo. Co-founded by Aaron Krane, who got his start at Slide in the social games field, he took that knowledge and focused it on sports instead, believing that there was a place in between the full-on social games like those produced at Zynga (News - Alert) and the more passive field of sports media. While reports indicate that Krane won't be following the team to Yahoo, the idea of a kind of social sports gaming platform will go on ahead of him.
Hitpost's apps offer a wide variety of functions within the larger umbrella of sports, including room for polls and live discussion, but perhaps most compelling to many is the ability to place bets—using a virtual currency only—on sporting events, complete with a set of odds as to the winner. This is a fairly simple, fairly straightforward concept, but all of this has one critical difference over anything that might call itself a competitor: it's one of the first such platforms to deliver all of this on mobile devices. That's a market that's a lot more robust than some may think; reports suggest that SportsBet, the virtual currency betting arm, has between one million and five million installs on Google (News - Alert) Play.
The acquisition of Hitpost actually complements an earlier move taken by Yahoo to pick up the Bignoggins sports app maker, which deals primarily in fantasy sports. Additionally, it works with a series of other moves to augment Yahoo's overall posture on the mobile front, including Summly for news, Xobni (News - Alert) for mail, Flickr in photos, Qwiki for search and additional weather improvements.
Yahoo seems pretty clearly to be going for a major presence in mobile. With the growing proliferation of mobile devices in the field this concept can be both easily explained and readily understood. There's certainly a lot more going on in mobile these days than ever before, and not making a move to get in on that market—especially for a major online operation like Yahoo—is simply leaving money on the table, so to speak.
While not all of Yahoo's moves of late have been quite so well received, the move to take better advantage of the burgeoning mobile market should be ranked near the top—or potentially even at the top—of the list of good moves that Yahoo's made so far. The company's eponymous exultation may well prove to be the company's overall mood if things keep going like this.
Edited by Alisen Downey