Yahoo's 2015 Great Gatsby–themed holiday party.

For a Struggling Company, Yahoo Sure Had an Opulent Holiday Party

For a Struggling Company, Yahoo Sure Had an Opulent Holiday Party

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 16 2015 3:12 PM

For a Struggling Company, Yahoo Sure Had an Opulent Holiday Party

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SUNNYVALE, CA - MAY 23: A sign is posted in front of the Yahoo! headquarters on May 23, 2014 in Sunnyvale, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In November, Recode reported on a strange Yahoo event from the year before. CEO Marissa Mayer had apparently spent $70,000 on a photo shoot at which company executives dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz. Mayer is known for throwing big, fun parties, but the whole photo shoot thing sounded pretty weird. For most people it was probably easier to dismiss it as an aberration.

And yet. On Wednesday, reports started surfacing about Yahoo's lavish Great Gatsby–themed holiday party, which was held last week at Pier 48 in San Francisco. Eric Jackson, the managing director of SpringOwl Asset Management, told Quartz he had heard that the party cost $7 million. A different source told Motherboard that Yahoo spent "less than a third of that." Either way, it still sounds like a pretty pricy bash. And this is all happening—by the way!—as Yahoo plans to possibly sell its core business.  

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What is up with this party obsession? Motherboard's man-on-the-street described the evening:

The rest of the cavernous room was filled with even more chandeliers and urns and a vintage Rolls Royce. Swinging flapper aerialists pouring champagne towers and Gatsby-esque costumed actors walking around like vintage cigarette girls (but peddling only candy) were everywhere.
Buffet stations were set up throughout the party. Each had a different offering. There were mini bread bowls with clam chowder, dim sum buns and dumplings, kale salads, Indian curries. Whatever the heart desired. All the booze was top shelf and no variety was left out. A burlesque troupe warmed up the crowd.

Judging by this event alone you would probably never know that Yahoo is in serious financial trouble. And it's certainly understandable to try to fake it 'til you make it, or put on a good face, or whatever. But when your company is tanking, a “Roaring 20th” isn't quite the rollicking good time it could be.