Verizon Near Deal to Sell Yahoo and AOL

The private equity firm has been on a shopping spree for the past few months, announcing deals to acquire the handicrafts retailer Michaels and the Venetian resort in Las Vegas. The company, Leon Black, announced in late March that he would step down as chairman after it was revealed that he paid more than $ 150 million to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Apollo declined to comment. Verizon did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg, who first reported on the expected deal, said Verizon would continue to be involved in the media arm.

The deal would signal the reversal of a strategy Verizon announced in 2015 when it acquired the faded internet giant AOL for $ 4.4 billion. The purchase should provide Verizon with a mobile phone entry with the aim of using AOL’s advertising technology to sell ads against digital content. Verizon doubled that strategy in 2017 with the $ 4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo, which it combined with AOL under the Oath umbrella.

However, Google and Facebook have proven to be excellent competitors in the digital advertising market. Verizon recognized its power in 2018 when it wrote off Oath’s value by $ 4.6 billion, in part due to “increased competitive and market pressures” that had resulted in “unexpectedly low sales and earnings.” .

Under its CEO, Hans Vestberg, the company has instead emphasized the improvement in technology for the mobile communications business. In March it was agreed to pay nearly $ 53 billion in wireless radio wave licensing to help the company expand its next-generation 5G infrastructure. It also plans to spend $ 10 billion on cabling more cell towers and upgrading its systems over the next few years. The company’s total debt now exceeds $ 180 billion.

The media business was originally supposed to differentiate Verizon from its competitors by offering it unique content offerings, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead, the telephone provider signed an agreement with Disney in 2019 to offer its customers its new streaming service Disney + free of charge. (In contrast, AT&T spent $ 85 billion in 2018 to buy Time Warner and create its own streaming platform, HBO Max.)

In 2018, Verizon announced the departure of Mr. Armstrong. The group was restructured and laid off about 800 workers, or about 7 percent of the workforce, in January 2019.

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

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