Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) is outsourcing yet another one of its businesses to a former rival. The company says IAC’s Match.com will now be the “exclusive online dating provider and display advertiser” on Yahoo and will be linked to from the Yahoo homepage; the two companies say they are in the process of migrating Yahoo Personals users to Match.
The move follows similar ones by Yahoo at several of its other properties; in April, it said it was handing over the management of its Yahoo Health vertical to Healthline Networks, while earlier this year it also combined its Yahoo Shopping site with PriceGrabber. And, of course, it is in the process of outsourcing the back-end of its search engine to Microsoft.
During an interview with Michael Arrington at TechCrunch Disrupt, Bartz said the company had not been focusing “that much” on personals since 2007; “Personals was something off to the side,” she said. Bartz also said Yahoo was finished with its divestment efforts — a process that appears to leave the company primarily focused on its content sites.
Most observers, however, had expected Yahoo to sell Yahoo Personals outright — much like it did with HotJobs in February, when it sold that property to Monster.com. Indeed, Yahoo had put Yahoo Personals up for sale more than a year ago and IAC (NSDQ: IACI) had publicly said last April that it was in early discussions about a possible acquisition. The site, however, had been valued at $500 million and there were some questions about whether IAC would be willing to spend that much. No financial terms of this arrangement were released.
The deal lets Match.com substantially increase the reach of its site; Match had 5 million unique visitors worldwide in January, while Yahoo Personals had 4 million and some metrics have put Yahoo Personals ahead of Match in the U.S. Match also acquired Singlesnet earlier this year, which had nearly 3 million visitors worldwide.
Match has been taking a dual strategy: In addition to expanding its reach in the mass dating category, it has also moved into more demographically targeted dating, via the acquisition last summer of People Media.