Verizon is exploring a sale of Yahoo and AOL that would end a rocky era for the telco as a media owner after a spate of disappointing acquisitions. A sale could bring $4 billion to $5 billion and giant investment group Apollo Global Management is said to involved, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Reps for Verizon and Apollo weren’t immediately available to comment.
The move, while a reversal, would not be surprising. Verizon bought the once mighty internet pioneer turned sort of punchline AOL for $4.4 billion in 2015, and Yahoo for $4.5 billion two years later. It merged them into a new venture it called Oath and named Tim Armstrong, AOL’s then CEO, to run it. He left in late 2018. Around then, Verizon announced a hefty $4.6 billion write-down of Oath assets, saying competitive pressures in the digital ad business had quashed the potential of the Yahoo-AOL integration. It scrapped the Oath moniker and renamed the division Verizon Media Group.
Basically, Google, Facebook and now Amazon eat up of the lion’s share of domestic digital advertising and Oath wasn’t able to compete.
Verizon had already started to shed pieces of the business. In November of last year it sold HuffPost to BuzzFeed. In 2019, it unloaded social media site Tumblr to Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.
Verizon also owns Techcrunch, Engadget, creative studio Ryot.