Chris Jenkins News editor

Chris works from BRW's Sydney newsroom. He has previously written and edited in print and online for titles including The Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

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Yahoo pays fortune for 17-year-old’s Summly news ap

Published 26 March 2013 07:52, Updated 17 April 2013 11:56

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Seventeen-year-old Londoner Nick D’Aloisio netted himself a payday worth $29 million with the sale of his content summary app Summly to Yahoo.

Yahoo confirmed the sale in a a post on its website.

D’Aloisio sold Summly to Yahoo just four months after it launched. The app, which condenses news stories and other content into a bite-sized, mobile friendly format, has already been downloaded more than 1 million times.

“Our vision is to simplify how we get information and we are thrilled to continue this mission with Yahoo!’s global scale and expertise,” D’Aloisio said in a statement posted on Summly’s website.

“After spending some time on campus, I discovered that Yahoo! has an inspirational goal to make people’s daily routines entertaining and meaningful, and mobile will be a central part of that vision. For us, it’s the perfect fit.”

The son of a financier and a lawyer, D’Aloisio told Britain’s Evening Standardhe didn’t have many living expenses and would probably use the money from the sale to buy himself a new pair of trainers and a computer.

He first wrote the Summly app when he was 15.

As part of the sale agreement D’Aloisio and his team will work for Yahoo, a company that has been busy reshaping itself since it poached new chief Marissa Mayer from Google last year.

The sale agreement was probably worth somewhere between £20 million and £40 million, the paper quoted industry sources as saying.

The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD blog put the price at £18 million ($26 million), paid 90 per cent in cash and 10 per cent in shares.

Summly has had 90 million summaries read to date.

“What Yahoo is getting, though, is perhaps more valuable – the ability to put the fresh-faced D’Aloisio front and centre of its noisy efforts to make consumers see Yahoo as a mobile-first company,” Kara Swisher wrote for AllThingsD.

Under the deal, D’Aloisio will remain the company’s majority shareholder. The company launched under the TrimIt moniker in 2011 and garnered a £160,000 investment from Chinese billionaire Li Ka-Shing’s Horizon Ventures venture capital group, as well as investments from celebrities including Stephen Fry, Yoko Ono and Ashton Kutcher.

The Evening Standard reported Summly has agreements with more than 250 publishers.