Verizon’s officially selling off its media assets to the private equity firm Apollo Global for $US5 ($6) billion, the company announced on Monday. Alongside that bundle of cash, Verizon will also be keeping a 10% stake in the company, which will simply be renamed — no joke — Yahoo.
It’s a bit of a fall from grace for Verizon, which will be selling off the media brands under the former AOL and Yahoo umbrellas — like TechCrunch and Engadget — for markedly less than it paid for them. Verizon initially poured $US4.4 ($6) billion dollars into buying AOL back in 2015, before buying out Yahoo for roughly the same sum two years later. As the Wall Street Journal points out, the goal here was to resurrect these brands and bring them the sort of traffic they had in their heyday. By all accounts, Verizon pretty much failed.
While the Apollo deal is the last media business Verizon has to shed, this isn’t the first time it’s tried to offload its media assets in recent years. In 2019, Verizon sold off Tumblr for about $US20 ($26) million — a fraction of the $US1.1 ($1.3) billion that Yahoo had initially bought the site for back in 2013. Then, in 2020, Verizon sold off the formerly AOL-owned Huffington Post to BuzzFeed, which then laid off dozens of staffers as part of that acquisition.
Verizon and Apollo stated that they expect the deal to close in the second half of the year.