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Verizon selling Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm for $5 billion

AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm. Verizon will sell Verizon Media, which consists of the pioneering technology platforms, to Apollo Global Management in a $5 billion deal.

Verizon said Monday that it will keep a 10% stake in the new company, which will be called Yahoo — omitting the iconic exclamation point that has endured, arguably past its prime, for so many years.

“Dropping the infamous ‘!’ at the end of the Yahoo moniker, Apollo is signaling a shift in direction,” Raymond James analysts said Monday in a note to investors. “With an impressive count of daily users, including a significant and extremely sticky base of email customers …. the PE guys have a good opportunity to mine cash while shifting the business in favor of newer online trends, and we expect a full rebranding is in store.”

Yahoo at the end of the last century was the face of the internet, preceding the behemoth tech platforms to follow, such as Google. And AOL was the portal, bringing almost everyone who logged on during the internet’s earliest days online.

Dashed hopes

Verizon had hoped to ride the acquisition of AOL to a quick entry into the mobile market, spending more than $4 billion on the company in 2015. The plan was to use the advertising platform pioneered by AOL to sell digital advertising. Two years later, it spent even more to acquire Yahoo and combined the two.

However, the speed at which Google and Facebook have grown dashed those hopes, and it quickly became clear that the new endeavor was unlikely to reach Verizon’s highest aspirations for the two.

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