NEW YORK: Yahoo and AOL are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm. Wireless company Verizon will sell Verizon Media, which consists of the once-pioneering tech platforms, to Apollo Global Management in a $5 billion deal.

Verizon said Monday that it will keep a 10pc 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 spent about $9 billion buying AOL and Yahoo over two years starting in 2015, hoping to jump-start a digital media business that would compete with Google and Facebook. It didn’t work those brands were already fading even then as Google and Facebook and, increasingly, Amazon dominate the US digital ad market. The year after buying Yahoo, Verizon wrote down the value of the combined operation, called Oath, by roughly the value of the $4.5 billion it had spent on Yahoo.

Verizon has been shedding media assets as it refocuses on wireless, spending billions on licensing the airwaves needed for the next generation of faster mobile service, called 5G. It sold blogging site Tumblr in 2019 and HuffPost to BuzzFeed late last year. The digital media sector in recent years has been consolidating as companies seek profitability.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

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