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Yahoo shareholders given a $350 million slap in the face by Verizon

Cain statue in Tuileries Garden in Paris

Yahoo’s ever so slight economy with the truth has come back to bite it in the arse – with Verizon confirming it will be shaving $350 million off the cost of the fallen internet golden boy.

When all was looking rosy, Verizon said it would pick up Yahoo’s core internet business for a cool $4.83 billion, back in July last year. It all looked great, that is until it was revealed that Yahoo had fallen victim to a massive data breach – 500 million customers had their deets half-inched. Since then, the Verizon/Yahoo deal came to look a bit more like a Ross-and-Rachel, will-they-won’t-they episode of Friends than a multi-billion dollar B2B acquisition. But hey, horses for courses.

Verizon decided it wasn’t put off by Yahoo’s chequered past, and saw its potential shining through. ‘I can change him,’ dreamt Verizon. Meanwhile, Yahoo knew it had been breached for a second time due to its crippling insecurities; this time a whopping one billion user accounts were affected.

There was a lot of talk over Verizon pulling out of the deal altogether this time, and nobody would have blamed Big Red. ‘I can still change him,’ it must have continued to dream.

Lawyers talked a lot of legalese, and business people did a lot of strategising, and in the end Verizon confirmed it will still take Yahoo back, but with a decent bit of wedged trimmed off the earlier price. It doesn’t sound as though Verizon is best pleased with all the messing around though.

“The amended terms of the agreement provide a fair and favorable outcome for shareholders,” said Verizon EVP Marni Walden. “It provides protections for both sides and delivers a clear path to close the transaction in the second quarter.”

“Protections for both sides”? Sounds more like protection for Verizon than for Yahoo, based on recent past. Unless Walden means protecting Yahoo from a monumental ass-kicking if it pulls this sh*t again…

“This transaction will accelerate Yahoo’s operating business especially on mobile, while effectively separating our Asian asset equity stakes,” said the increasingly irrelevant Marissa Mayer. “It is an important step to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo, and we can now move forward with confidence and certainty.”

“Confidence and certainty”? Whenever your correspondent has dropped five bill on stuff in the past, it has been done with confidence and certainty, not after nearly a year’s worth of messing around.

Verizon has been kind enough to say it’ll split the cost of ‘certain’ breaches with Yahoo. “In addition, Verizon and Yahoo will share certain legal and regulatory liabilities arising from certain data breaches incurred by Yahoo,” the telco said in a statement.

Verizon must really want Yahoo, and want it bad. Here’s hoping that all of Verizon’s mates saying ‘Leave him, V, he ain’t worth it!’ aren’t proven right.


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