Yahoo is on the move as Verizon is selling its media properties to Apollo Global Management Group. The sale was reported to be in the works last week and is now being completed for a total of $5 billion.
Verizon will maintain a 10 percent stake in the company, which will continue to be known as Yahoo.
Along with Yahoo Finance, AOL media brands including TechCrunch and Engadget are also being acquired by Apollo. Verizon previously sold another of its media properties, HuffPost, to BuzzFeed last year. This continues a downward trend for Yahoo, which shut down Yahoo Answers and its go90 streaming video service, in addition to selling Tumblr to Automattic in 2019.
With the sale, Verizon has obviously abandoned its initial ambition to acquire established brands to build an online media juggernaut covering tech news, finance, and sports called Oath. (Oath later became Verizon Media Group after CEO Tim Armstrong left the company in 2018.) The telecommunications company will reportedly now focus on its wireless networks and internet providers.
Perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of selling off these properties is how much Verizon lost in the process. Yahoo was acquired for $4.5 billion in 2017, while AOL was purchased for $4.5 billion two years earlier. (Tumblr cost Yahoo $1.1 billion.)
How Yahoo’s sale will affect its sports properties is yet to be determined. For instance, the company’s mobile streaming deal with the NFL is set to expire after the 2022 season. But a renewal seems to be unlikely with a slimmed-down version of the company now owned by a private equity firm rather than a telecommunications conglomerate.
Yahoo Sports, of course, has been significantly downsized in recent years with talent like Adrian Wojnarowski, Jeff Passan, and Greg Wyshynski leaving for ESPN in recent years. Shams Charania also left Yahoo Sports for The Athletic, while Chris Mannix returned to Sports Illustrated. Prominent editors such as Kevin Kaduk and writers including Kelly Dwyer, Tim Brown, and Mike Osegueda were also laid off.
AOL’s sports media endeavor, FanHouse, and its sports vertical were casualties of the AOL-TimeWarner merger. The brand was sold to Sporting News and eventually shuttered.
Related: The Oral History of AOL FanHouse
Yahoo and AOL are certainly relics of 1990s internet culture, providing many early users with access to email and the internet. Both companies tried to evolve, largely by acquiring other software and brands, but weren’t able to grow as envisioned while rival tech giants like Google and Facebook dominated.
The sale of Yahoo and AOL to Apollo is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021.