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Verizon close to selling Yahoo and AOL



The private equity firm has been in the buying round for the past few months and has announced offers to acquire craft dealer Michaels and the Venetian resort of Las Vegas. It has also had a shift in its senior ranks, with its co-founder, Leon Black, announcing in late March that he was stepping down as chairman after the revelation that he had paid more than $ 150 million to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein .

Apollo declined to comment. Verizon did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg, which first reported on the expected deal, said Verizon would maintain a stake in the media arm.

The deal would signal that a strategy Verizon heralded in 2015 was disbanded when it acquired the faded Internet giant AOL for $ 4.4 billion. The acquisition was intended to give Verizon a way to mobile with the aim of using AOL’s advertising technology to sell digital content ads. Verizon doubled that strategy in 2017 with its $ 4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo, which it combined with AOL under the Eed umbrella.

But Google and Facebook have proven to be formidable competitors in the digital advertising market. Verizon recognized their power in 2018 when it downgraded the value of Oath by $ 4.6 billion. $ And attributed the operation in part to “increased competitive pressure and market pressure” that had resulted in “lower revenue and earnings than expected.”

Under its CEO, Hans Vestberg, the company has instead focused on improving the technology around its mobile business. In March, it agreed to pay nearly $ 53 billion to license wireless airwaves that will help the company expand its next-generation 5G infrastructure. It also plans to spend $ 10 billion over the next few years to bind more cell towers and upgrade its systems. The company’s total debt now exceeds $ 180 billion.

The media industry was originally intended to differentiate Verizon from its rivals by providing the unique content offering, but it did not work that way. Instead, the phone company reached an agreement in 2019 with Disney to offer its new streaming service Disney + for free to its customers. (AT&T, on the other hand, spent $ 85 billion to buy Time Warner in 2018 to create its own streaming platform, HBO Max.)

In 2018, Verizon announced Mr. Armstrong’s departure. The group was restructured, and in January 2019 it dismissed approx. 800 workers or approx. 7 percent of staff.

Last year, Verizon began dismantling the media group with the sale of HuffPost to BuzzFeed.


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