By Micah Maidenberg
Verizon Communications Inc. agreed to sell most of its business that includes Yahoo and AOL to Apollo Global Management Inc., a deal that would largely close the chapter on the company's pricey bet on digital media.
Verizon said on Monday that funds managed by the private-equity firm will acquire the company's Verizon Media assets in a deal valued at $5 billion. The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Verizon was exploring a sale and that Apollo Global was involved in that process.
Apollo will pay $4.25 billion in cash for the unit and provide Verizon with $750 million in preferred interests. In addition, Verizon will retain a 10% stake in the business, which will be called Yahoo when the deal is completed.
"The corporate carveout will allow Verizon Media to aggressively pursue growth areas and stands to benefit its employees, advertisers, publishing partners and nearly 900 million monthly active users worldwide," Verizon and Apollo said in a statement.
Verizon acquired AOL in 2015 and Yahoo in 2017 for more than $9 billion in all, intending to resurrect brands that had lost ground over the years but still counted hundreds of millions of account holders between them.
In 2017, the wireless carrier reorganized the businesses under former AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong as the "Oath" division, aiming to compete for digital advertising with powerhouses such as Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook Inc.
Verizon wrote down about $4.5 billion in value in the digital-media business in 2018. It has cut jobs in the unit and moved to find buyers for other parts of it. The company agreed in November to sell the HuffPost news site to BuzzFeed Inc., for example.
Write to Micah Maidenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires