Internet trailblazers Yahoo and AOL sold, again, for $5 billion

Published May 3, 2021
AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm. — AP
AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm. — AP

AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm.

Verizon will sell Verizon Media, which consists of the pioneering tech platforms, to Apollo Global Management in a $5 billion deal.

Verizon said on Monday that it will keep a 10 per cent stake in the new company, which will be called Yahoo.

Yahoo at the end of the last century was the face of the internet, preceding the behemoth tech platforms to follow, such as Google and Facebook.

And AOL was the portal, bringing almost everyone who logged on during the internet’s earliest days.

Verizon had hoped to ride the acquisition of AOL to a quick entry into the mobile market, spending more than $4bn on the company in 2015. The plan was to use the advertising platform pioneered by AOL to sell digital advertising. Two years later, it spent even more to acquire Yahoo and combined the two.

However, the speed at which Google and Facebook have grown dashed those hopes and it became clear very quickly that it was unlikely to reach Verizon’s highest aspirations for the two.

The year after buying Yahoo, Verizon wrote down the value of the combined operation, called “Oath”, by more than the $4.5bn it had spent on Yahoo.

As part of the deal announced on Monday, Verizon will receive $4.25bn in cash, preferred interests of $750 million and the minority stake. The transaction includes the assets of Verizon Media, including its brands and businesses such as Yahoo and AOL.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year.

Shares of Verizon Communications Inc, based in New York, rose slightly before the opening bell on Monday.

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