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Verizon loses billions in Yahoo and AOL sale

The deal marks the end of Verizon’s attempts to break into the digital content business

Verizon and Yahoo logos on a white background

Verizon, which originally paid nearly $9 billion to buy AOL and Yahoo, announced Monday that it’s selling them for $5 billion.

According to statements from both companies, the telecoms giant is unloading its media group, Verizon Media, to private equity firm Apollo Capital Management.

The sale of Verizon Media also includes websites such as TechCrunch, Engadget, Autoblog and Yahoo Sports.

Verizon retains a 10% stake in the overall media group, which will be named Yahoo. Verizon’s advertising technology arm is also part of the deal. 

The sale marks the apparent end of Verizon’s unsuccessful attempts to turn itself into a major player in the digital content and online advertising market.

Verizon bought AOL for $4.4 billion in 2015, then bought Yahoo for $4.48 billion in 2016. It combined them under the name Oath before rebranding Oath as Verizon Media.

Both AOL and Yahoo started as pioneering success stories in the early days of the internet before each company fell on hard times.

AOL became a corporate giant by selling dial-up internet service to millions, but it faded as broadband replaced dial-up service. Yahoo was a hugely popular web portal and search engine, but its business suffered due to the rise of its competitor Google. 

Apollo Capital Management is a private equity firm that owns the Venetian resort in Las Vegas, arts-and-crafts retail chain Michaels, and Cox Media. The company is no stranger to the tech space, as it also snapped up tech companies Shutterfly and Rackspace and. 

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021. Verizon will reportedly turn its focus toward its 5G network once it officially purges its media arm.

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