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Yahoo buys UK teenager’s app for £18m

Warwick Ashford

Yahoo has acquired an app created by a UK teenager for £18m, making him one of the world’s youngest self-made millionaires.

17-year-old Nick D'Aloisio's Summly app summarises news stories from popular media companies.

While the app will cease to exist as a standalone product, its features will be rolled into mobile products at Yahoo, where D'Aloisio has been given a job, according to the BBC.

But the teenager from Wimbledon, south London will not be moving to company’s headquarters in the US just yet, as he plans to complete his A-levels first, reported the Guardian.

Neither side has confirmed details of the deal. The agreed price is believed to be £18m, 90% in cash and 10% in Yahoo shares, although some reports have suggested the total could be up to £40m.

D'Aloisio launched the app when he was 15, quickly attracting more than £1m of investment.

In a blog post, D'Aloisio thanked investor Li Ka-Shing and Horizon Ventures for having the foresight to back a teenager pursuing his dream. He also thanked other investors, advisors and the “fantastic team” for believing in the potential of Summly.

"Without you all, this never would have been possible. I'd also like to thank my family, friends and school for supporting me," he wrote.

Also blogging about the deal, Yahoo's senior vice-president of mobile, Adam Cahan, said that, for publishers, the Summly technology provided a new approach to drive interest in stories and reach a generation of mobile users that want information on the go.

The acquisition is consistent with Yahoo’s strategy to focus on mobile users in an attempt to revive the company’s fortunes.

Since former Google executive Marissa Mayer became CEO at Yahoo, she has overseen an overhaul of products such as Yahoo Mail with new versions of the mail service for smartphones and tablets.

The revamp was widely seen as an attempt by Yahoo to ensure that Yahoo Mail stays popular with the younger generation of users by making its web mail service available across all major mobile platforms.

On taking over the role of CEO, Mayer said her top priority was to create a coherent mobile strategy to reverse years of declining key display advertising revenue.

In February, Yahoo announced plans to update its homepage for the first time in four years as part of efforts to win back users from rival Google and boost falling advertising revenues.


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