BASKING RIDGE, NJ, and SUNNYVALE, CA — Verizon Communications has agreed to buy Yahoo’s Internet business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash.
Yahoo, a Silicon Valley web pioneer, has more than 1 billion monthly active users — including 600 million monthly active mobile users through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also connects advertisers with target audiences through a streamlined advertising technology stack that combines the power of their data, content and technology. Yahoo has headquarters in Sunnyvale, only a few miles away from Google.
“Just over a year ago we acquired AOL to enhance our strategy of providing a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon Chairman and CEO. “The acquisition of Yahoo will put Verizon in a highly competitive position as a top global mobile media company, and help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising.”
Yahoo will be integrated with AOL under Marni Walden, EVP and President of the Product Innovation and New Businesses organization at Verizon.
The deal marks the end of Yahoo’s Internet sites as an independent company. It was founded in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo. It turned down an offer from Microsoft to buy the entire company in 2008 for $44 billion.
Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, told CNBC she plans to continue working at Yahoo through the closing of the acquisition in 2017 but her future is uncertain with the company.
“Yahoo is a company that has changed the world, and will continue to do so through this combination with Verizon and AOL,” said Mayer. “The sale of our operating business, which effectively separates our Asian asset equity stakes, is an important step in our plan to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo. This transaction also sets up a great opportunity for Yahoo to build further distribution and accelerate our work in mobile, video, native advertising and social.”
The sale does not include Yahoo’s cash, its shares in Alibaba Group Holdings, its shares in Yahoo Japan, Yahoo’s convertible notes, certain minority investments, and Yahoo’s non-core patents (called the Excalibur portfolio). These assets will continue to be held by Yahoo, which will change its name at closing and become a registered, publicly traded investment company. Yahoo will provide additional information about the investment company at a future date.
Verizon plans to combine Yahoo with its AOL business, which it acquired for $4.4 billion in 2015.
“Our mission at AOL is to build brands people love, and we will continue to invest in and grow them. Yahoo has been a long-time investor in premium content and created some of the most beloved consumer brands in key categories like sports, news and finance,” said Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL.
Under Armstrong, AOL has invested in and grown global premium brands, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS and AOL.com, and market-leading programmatic platforms — including ONE by AOL for both advertisers and publishers.
Armstrong added, “We have enormous respect for what Yahoo has accomplished: this transaction is about unleashing Yahoo’s full potential, building upon our collective synergies, and strengthening and accelerating that growth. Combining Verizon, AOL and Yahoo will create a new powerful competitive rival in mobile media, and an open, scaled alternative offering for advertisers and publishers.”
The addition of Yahoo to Verizon and AOL will create one of the largest portfolios of owned and partnered global brands with extensive distribution capabilities. Combined, AOL and Yahoo will have more than 25 brands in its portfolio for continued investment and growth. Yahoo’s key assets include market-leading premium content brands in major categories including finance, news and sports, as well as one of the most popular email services globally with approximately 225 million monthly active users. Additional technology assets in the advertising space include Brightroll, a programmatic demand-side platform; Flurry, an independent mobile apps analytics service; and Gemini, a native and search advertising solution.
The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, approval by Yahoo’s shareholders, and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in Q1 of 2017. Until the closing, Yahoo will continue to operate independently, offering and improving its own products and services for users, advertisers, developers and partners.