Verizon has sold its AOL and Yahoo properties to Apollo Global Management in a deal said to be worth $5 billion, about half of the nearly $9 billion Verizon originally paid for the pair. Verizon will maintain a 10 percent stake in the company, now known as Yahoo and led by CEO Guru Gowrappan. The deal, which includes Verizon’s ad tech business, was heavily rumored over the last week and is still subject to closing conditions. Once complete, it’ll bring an end to Verizon’s troubled experiment with media production and advertising.
Apollo is a private equity firm that owns the Venetian resort in Las Vegas and crafts retailer Michaels. Apollo co-founder Leon Black recently stepped down as Chairman, soon after it was revealed that he paid more than $150 million to Jeffrey Epstein. Yes, that Jeffrey Epstein.
“We are thrilled to help unlock the tremendous potential of Yahoo and its unparalleled collection of brands,” said Apollo partner Reed Rayman. “We have enormous respect and admiration for the great work and progress that the entire organization has made over the last several years, and we look forward to working with Guru, his talented team, and our partners at Verizon to accelerate Yahoo’s growth in its next chapter.”
Verizon originally paid $4.4 billion for AOL in 2015 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 absurdly named Oath, later renamed Verizon Media Group in 2018 after Verizon admitted defeat and wrote off about half of its value.
In 2019 Verizon sold Tumblr for an undisclosed sum that was thought to have been less than $3 million, pennies compared to the $1.1 billion Yahoo paid for the blogging platform in 2013. Last year Verizon unloaded Huffpost to Buzzfeed, a property AOL paid $315 million for in 2011 that resulted in a $119 million charge to its quarterly earnings “primarily related to the disposition of the HuffPost business.”
Back in the day, AOL was how people connected to the internet and Yahoo was its front page. At their peaks, AOL had a market capitalization of more than $200 billion and Yahoo more than $125 billion.