With Marissa Mayer at the helm, Yahoo! is on a spending spree. In an effort to become a new online hub for video, the company snapped up the rights to stream episodes of Saturday Night Live – previously a Hulu special – and recently attempted to purchase the popular French video site DailyMotion. However, the government of President Francois Hollande has expressed its objections to the takeover, and sought to block the deal.
It is interesting to note this somewhat inconsistent step in France’s effort to attract capital. In February, France’s Minister of Renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, sought the buyout of a French Goodyear plant by Titan, an American tire company. The request sparked a vitriolic response from Maurice Taylor, the CEO of Titan, who used the opportunity to bash the French work ethic and overall productivity. It is ironic, then, that the government would seemingly reverse its position, and try to block an injection of American capital into the technology and video sphere.
One explanation for France’s behavior might have more to do with the industry, and less with the notional idea of foreign investment. It is quite likely that France is looking to tap into the growing European startup space, and wants to retain talent – and streaming video talent, at that – within its boundaries. If Yahoo had offered to purchase, say, the Minitel, the answer might well have been oui.