Y Combinator’s Garry Tan Goes to the MatRead more

Indecision at Pinterest

The internet’s most famous scrapbooking service is losing users and its stock price is cratering. CEO Ben Silbermann has been slow to cut deals that could have boosted growth. Can Pinterest’s belated push to embrace commerce and creators energize the company?

Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest. Photo by Bloomberg; Art by Mike Sullivan
Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest. Photo by Bloomberg; Art by Mike Sullivan
March 25, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

Last fall, executives at Pinterest were inching toward an agreement to acquire Verishop, an online shopping platform that Pinterest had been negotiating with for at least two months, according to two people familiar with the situation. The deal could have helped the internet scrapbooking service accelerate its belated commerce efforts.

But the talks hit a wall as Pinterest’s CEO, Ben Silbermann, delayed making a decision on terms for a deal, frustrating Imran Khan, the former Snap executive who led Verishop, and Khan’s team, the people said. Silbermann may have had something else on his mind. Days after the Verishop talks stalled, news broke that PayPal was in talks to acquire Pinterest for $45 billion, conversations the Pinterest deal makers in charge of the Verishop talks weren’t aware of, the people said.

A few days later, after the PayPal and Pinterest talks collapsed, Silbermann was ready to make a deal for Verishop. Pinterest made a $500 million stock and cash offer to Khan for the company, according to one of the people. But it was too late. Silbermann’s handling of the discussions, including the plodding pace of the process, had soured Khan on the deal, the people said.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Former Apple design chief Jony Ive and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Photos by Getty.
Designer Jony Ive and OpenAI’s Sam Altman Discuss AI Hardware Project
Jony Ive, the renowned designer of the iPhone, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman have been discussing building a new AI hardware device, according to two people familiar with the conversations.
From left to right: Blair Effron, Robert Pruzan and David Handler. Photos by Getty; Tidal Partners.
Exclusive Finance
Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley Dreams
The San Francisco Bay Area–based bankers at Centerview Partners, the investment bank that advised Silicon Valley Bank’s owner and Credit Suisse through recent turmoil, got two doses of bad news last week.
Art by Clark Miller
Exclusive startups entertainment
MasterClass Takes a Crash Course in Frugality
MasterClass had a problem with the shoot featuring its latest star instructor, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photos via Getty
Exclusive microsoft ai
How Microsoft is Trying to Lessen Its Addiction to OpenAI as AI Costs Soar
Microsoft’s push to put artificial intelligence into its software has hinged almost entirely on OpenAI , the startup Microsoft funded in exchange for the right to use its cutting-edge technology.
From left: Paul Graham, Garry Tan and Michael Seibel. Photos by Getty. Art by Mike Sullivan.
Exclusive startups ai
Y Combinator’s Garry Tan Goes to the Mat
Garry Tan was in his happy place. Surrounded by food trucks and techies basking in San Francisco’s September sun, the CEO of Y Combinator snapped selfies with entrepreneurs as he meandered through a crowd of 2,700 attendees at the startup accelerator’s annual alumni event.
Dave Rogenmoser, cofounder of Jasper. Photo via Getty.
Exclusive startups ai
Jasper, an Early Generative AI Winner, Cuts Internal Valuation as Growth Slows
Jasper AI, an early darling of the generative artificial intelligence boom, has cut the internal value of its common shares 20%, according to former employees who were notified by the company.