Is it sexist to ask if Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has a shopping problem?


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Before I begin to analyze Marissa Mayer's shopping behavior as CEO of Yahoo ( YHOO ), at considerable peril, I point out, of being lumped in with various feminist, anti-feminist, and counter-anti-feminist dogmatists, allow me to apologize for the above art, which depicts a blonde woman, lounging on a couch, happily spending money. I don't mean to imply that Marissa Mayer is a flibbertigibbet who frivolously tosses billions of dollars this way and that with a confident smile--I'm sure Marissa Mayer is very serious as she tosses billions of dollars this way and that with a confident smile.

But as Vogue helpfully illustrated for us, Mayer isn't afraid to lounge on a couch if the situation calls for it. As for spending money, well, she does that too. One might say she has spent her two years as Yahoo's CEO in a "flurry" of spending, though I wouldn't do so myself-not a fan of puns. The spending spree began with Stamped, a social recommendation site, grew conspicuous with the $1.1 billion buy of Tumblr and continued today with the $300+ million acquisition of Flurry, a mobile app analytics service.

There have been a total of 41 acquisitions under Mayer, compared with 65 in the years before she took over. Of course, Mayer has only been CEO of Yahoo for two years, meaning she has made 1.7 acquisitions per month. Prior to her arrival, the company had made only 0.37 acquisitions per month, meaning Mayer increased the rate by 360%. True, Mayer had lots of Alibaba money to play with, but that cuts both ways. Yahoo recently announced that it would return to shareholders only half of the money it makes in Alibaba's upcoming IPO. The rest, presumably, will fund another Marissa Mayer shopping spree.

So there you have it: yes, Marissa Mayer is a shopaholic of epic proportion. But is the entire discussion sexist? Would we conceivably be having it about a male CEO who shopped this much? Obviously, not. No one would make fun of a male CEO for making a lot of deals, because that isn't a story. I conclude therefore that it is not fair to make fun of Mayer for it. Really, this question should probably never have been brought up. So, sorry about that.

Julian Close has been a business writer since the first day of the twenty-first century, having written for PRA International and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping. He graduated from Davidson College in 1993 and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College in 2011. He became a stockbroker in 1993, but now works for Fresh Brewed Media and uses his powers only for good. You can see closing trades for all Julian's long and short positions and track his long term performance via twitter: @JulianClose_MIC .

This article was originally published on

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Technology

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