Verizon Communications is to acquire ailing internet giant Yahoo’s operating business for $4.83 billion, boosting the US operator’s position as “a top global mobile media company”, CEO Lowell McAdam said.
Verizon has been the frontrunner to purchase Yahoo for months, as the sale process went through several rounds of bidding.
Yahoo has a global audience of one billion monthly active users, of which 600 million are mobile, said Verizon, talking up its attractiveness.
It also has “a streamlined advertising technology stack that combines the power of their data, content and technology”.
Verizon will add Yahoo’s content to the ad technology platform it acquired by buying another old timer, AOL, for $4.4 billion in 2015.
Yahoo will be integrated with AOL under Marni Walden, EVP and president of the product innovation and new businesses organization at Verizon.
Also last year, the US operator bought another mobile ad firm, Millennial Media, for $238 million including debt.
Verizon is attempting to open up a new revenue stream from mobile advertising to compensate for an increasingly competitive telecoms market in the US.
In addition to the underlying ad platform, Verizon is also investing in content creation to draw in the user for advertisers.
The sale will bring to an end Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer’s failed attempts to turn Yahoo into a viable independent business.
The deal does not include Yahoo’s cash, its shares in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, 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.
The internet player will provide additional information about the investment company at a future date.
Yahoo also intends to return substantially all of its net cash to shareholders. It intends to “determine and communicate a specific capital return strategy at an appropriate time”.
The Alibaba and Yahoo Japan stakes have a combined market value of about $40 billion.
The deal is subject to approval by Yahoo’s shareholders, as well as regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in Q1 of 2017. Until the closing, Yahoo will continue to operate independently.