The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Verizon announced it would acquire Yahoo’s core operating business in a $4.83 billion cash deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Yahoo will join Verizon’s growing stable of digital properties, including AOL, which it purchased last May for $4.4 billion. The deal should help Verizon ramp up its mobile efforts and combine AOL’s ad tech with Yahoo’s online sites and services. AOL chief Tim Armstrong and Verizon exec Marni Walden spearheaded the deal. “This culminates a rigorous, thorough process over many months, and yields a great outcome for the company,” wrote Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a letter to her employees.

Yahoo will be integrated with AOL under Armstrong and Walden. While Mayer has expressed interest in staying on with Yahoo, most reports suggest her future is unclear.

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“Yahoo and AOL popularized the Internet, email, search and real-time media,” she suggested in a prepared statement. “It’s poetic to be joining forces with AOL and Verizon as we enter our next chapter focused on achieving scale on mobile.”

The move augments Verizon’s online content portfolio with the ultimate goal of increasing its advertising revenue and competing with Facebook and Google. According to The Wall Street Journal, “current assets include Huffington Post and TechCrunch, which it acquired in last year’s AOL deal, and its own mobile video app, called go90. Acquiring Yahoo will bring in millions more viewers from Yahoo sites like Finance, Sports and News.”

“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 has a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users, including 600 million on mobile devices, through search, communications and digital content products,” reports Variety. “Yahoo claims its email services are used by 225 million monthly active users.”

The sale of Yahoo’s core business does not include its cash, convertible notes, or equity investments in Alibaba Group Holdings or Yahoo Japan. It also does not include Yahoo’s portfolio of non-core patents and pending applications, which the company is expected to sell separately (some analysts have estimated the value at approximately $1 billion). Yahoo plans to return most of its net cash to shareholders.

The bidding began in April. Interested parties reportedly included Advent International, Bain Capital, TPG, Vista Equity Partners and a consortium led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. “AT&T Inc. joined the bidding process later,” notes WSJ, “but it wasn’t seen as a serious contender, people familiar with the matter said.”