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Yahoo's media group sets up shop in L.A.

Yahoo, which for years has been forging closer ties with Hollywood, has signed a large deal for office space in Los Angeles, a real estate executive said Wednesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Internet company Yahoo Inc., which for years has been forging closer ties with Hollywood, has inked a large deal for Los Angeles office space that will more than double its presence there, the company said Wednesday.

This year, the newly established media group for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo will move into just over 60,000 square feet of office space in Equity Office Properties Trust’s  Colorado Center -- to be renamed Yahoo Center -- in Santa Monica, said Yahoo spokeswoman Joanna Stevens.

Yahoo already has about 50,000 square feet of offices in Santa Monica, housing employees from its entertainment unit and Launch music service. They will move into Yahoo Center in 2006, she said.

“We’ll have the group all in one place, stronger relations with the media community -- because we’ll be right there with them, and the ability to attract the best and the brightest,” Stevens said of the Southern California expansion.

By 2008, company employees will occupy a total of 229,000 square feet at Yahoo Center in Santa Monica, said Bert Dezzutti, a senior vice president for Equity Office.

That number does not include another 27,000 square feet of offices that will temporarily house Yahoo workers until their space is ready. The company has the option to pick up that space as well, Dezzutti said.

“They clearly have growth plans,” said Dezzutti.

Yahoo will share the 1 million-square-foot Santa Monica complex with such companies as cable network HBO, advertising agency Rubin Postaer and Associates and the home entertainment division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

The company’s headquarters remains in Sunnyvale, California.

Stevens did not say how many employees will relocate to Santa Monica or how many people the company plans to employ there.

Many of Yahoo’s engineers will remain in Silicon Valley, while an undisclosed number of people in such areas as business development, marketing, public relations and product and content production, will make the move south, she said.

Yahoo, headed by former Hollywood studio chief Terry Semel since 2001, in November hired Lloyd Braun, a former chairman of Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Entertainment Television Group, to head its media and entertainment division.

Braun, who had been splitting time between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, will be based in Santa Monica and run the company’s new Media Group, which will include Yahoo’s games, sports, news, finance, movies, music and other services.

Yahoo currently occupies about 1 million square feet at its Silicon Valley headquarters.