Yahoo buys mobile video app Ptch, will shut it down

The Internet giant purchased the startup -- and, perhaps as importantly, its personnel -- from DreamWorks Animation in CEO Marissa Mayer's latest 'acquire-hire' move.

By Benzinga Dec 4, 2013 7:50PM

Marissa Mayer on NBC News' 'Today' show on Feb. 20, 2013 (© Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)By Jim Probasco

In a move that has become more or less standard for Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer, the company recently acquired DreamWorks Animation's (DWA) Ptch startup, which it will shut down Jan. 2.

Mayer has made a number of such "acquire-hire" moves since she took over leadership at Yahoo. Her goal has been beef up the company with personnel who can help Yahoo compete with companies like Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) -- especially in mobile.

Ptch is described as a mobile video app, launched about a year ago, that lets users remix videos and pictures into clips or montages. The clips can be shared with others -- who can then add their own photos and clips. DreamWorks CTO Ed Leonard led the team that created Ptch.

While neither the terms of the deal nor the specific reasons for the acquisition were disclosed, it is widely believed that shutting down the company right after the first of next year will pave the way to add Ptch employees to the Yahoo team. According to The Verge, this will likely involve utilizing former Ptch employees to improve the functionality of Yahoo's Flickr app.

Yahoo reported that daily uploads to Flickr have increased considerably and the company recently began promoting an option to convert photos into printed photo books.

A portion of a Ptch blog post announcing the acquisition said, "Today, we're excited to announce that Ptch will be joining Yahoo. As part of the Yahoo team, we'll be able to focus our efforts and leverage our technology to make Yahoo's photo and video platforms the best in the world."

The acquisition of Ptch follows an announcement Monday that Yahoo had acquired SkyPhrase, a natural language processing company. The main work of SkyPhrase has been in the area of teaching machines to understand and process human speech.

Of particular interest to Yahoo, which has heavy involvement in fantasy sports, is the fact SkyPhrase has experimented with the use of natural language to allow users to manage a fantasy sports team.

Meanwhile, shares of Yahoo were trading at $37.42, up $0.75, or 2.05 percent, late Wednesday.

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