A Look Back At Yahoo’s Flickr Acquisition For Lessons Today


Editor’s note: Tomio Geron is head of content at startup Exitround. This is part of a series on the tech M&A market. 

When Yahoo offered to buy Flickr in early 2005, co-founder Stewart Butterfield and his team had a tough decision to make. There were many reasons  to sell. But there were also many reasons to wait for a larger exit.

Today, deals like WhatsApp and Oculus to Facebook, as well as Nest to Google, can make it seem like massive exits are easy or common. But they’re often complicated and provide some lessons, according to Butterfield — now co-founder and CEO of Slack — and Cal Henderson who was head of engineering at Flickr and is now co-founder and VP of engineering at Slack.

Vancouver, Canada-based Flickr launched in February 2004 and started to take off in summer of that year, drawing the attention of Yahoo and other large Internet companies. While it…

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