Verizon Offloads AOL & Yahoo

Verizon has sold its AOL and Yahoo properties to Apollo Global Management in a deal worth $5 billion, roughly half of the $9 billion Verizon originally paid to acquire the pair. Verizon will maintain a 10 percent stake in Yahoo. 

The deal includes Verizon’s ad tech business and was heavily rumored over the last week is still subject to some closing conditions.  Once complete, it will bring an end to Verizon’s trouble experiment with media production and advertising. 

Apollo is a private equity firm that also owns the Venetian resort in Las Vegas and crafts retailer Michaels. 

Apollo is not without controversy, as its co-founder Leon Black recently stepped down as chairman soon after it was revealed that he paid more than $150 million to Jeffrey Epstein, in a scheme designed to pay fewer taxes. 

Verizon originally paid $4.4 billion for AOL in 2016 and another $4.5 billion for Yahoo two years later.  The media divisions, which included properties like Yahoo Sports, TechCrunch, and Engadget, were consolidated under the name “Oath,” later renamed Verizon Media Group in 2018 after Verizon wrote off roughly half of its value. 

In 2019 Verizon sold Tumblr for an undisclosed sum that was thought to have been less than $3 million, a mere fraction of the $1.1 billion Yahoo paid for the blogging platform in 2013. 

In 2020, Verizon unloaded Huffpost to Buzzfeed, a business that AOL paid $315 million for in 2011, which resulted in a $119 million charge to its quarterly earnings “primarily related to the disposition of the HuffPost business.”

At their peaks, AOL had a market capitalization of more than $200 billion and Yahoo more than $125 billion. 

In the early days of the internet, AOL was the most popular way for people to connect to the internet and Yahoo was its front page.