Verizon will sell its media group to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $ 5 billion, the two companies said on Monday. The sale allows Verizon to offload properties from the former Internet empires of AOL and Yahoo. Verizon will retain a 10% stake in the company and it will be renamed “Yahoo”.
The sale will see online media brands under the old Yahoo and AOL umbrellas like TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance and Engadget go to Apollo. Verizon bought AOL in 2015 for $ 4.4 billion in 2015, and it bought Yahoo for $ 4.5 billion in 2017.
Recently, it has become increasingly clear that Verizon wants to sell its multimedia properties and instead focus on its wireless networks and other ISP businesses. Last year, Verizon sold HuffPost to BuzzFeed. It also recently sold or closed other media properties such as Tumblr and Yahoo Answers.
Previously, Verizon’s original vision was to turn Yahoo and AOL properties into online media juggernauts that could take Google and Facebook’s dominance in online advertising. Under former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, the Yahoo and AOL brands converged into a new online media division within Verizon called Oath.
But the Oath project was largely unsuccessful in gaining momentum and Armstrong left the company in 2018. Oath again renamed Verizon Media Group in November 2018 and was led by Guru Gowrappan. Gowrappan will continue to run Yahoo under Apollo.
With the sale of Yahoo and AOL, Verizon has indicated that it is no longer interested in the media, unlike its rivals. AT&T is still trying to make WarnerMedia a streaming competitor to Netflix and Disney, even as it grapples with a lot of debts resulting from its media acquisitions. Comcast, another ISP, is still in the media business with NBCUniversal.