Verizon is close to a renegotiated deal to buy Yahoo! Inc.’s internet properties for $250 million to $350 million less than the original agreed-upon price of $4.83 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Verizon has spent the last year trying to convince Yahoo to amend the terms of the agreement to reflect the economic damage following two cyber attacks. Verizon and Altaba Inc., the renamed entity of what will remain of Yahoo after the deal, are expected to share any continuing legal responsibilities, according to people briefed on the matter.
The revised agreement has yet to be finalized, but an official announcement of the agreed up terms could come within weeks, if not days, according to the anonymous source.
Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, has been under scrutiny by federal investigators and lawmakers since divulging the largest known data breach in history. Yahoo disclosed in December that in 2013, cyberthieves siphoned sensitive data including users’ email addresses, scrambled account passwords, and dates of birth. The data stolen may allow criminals access to even more sensitive personal information in other places online. This announcement came on the heels of a 2014 data breach that affected at least 500 million user accounts. In both cases, there is evidence to suggest that Yahoo withheld information about the intrusions for some time before disclosing them to the public.
Verizon hopes to join Yahoo’s search function, email, messenger tools, and advertising technology with its AOL unit. The cellphone carrier acquired AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion in an endeavor to break out of the oversaturated wireless market. Verizon’s wireless phones service is facing stiff competition from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Analysts list the need to build up its digital media business as a reason to come to terms with Yahoo quickly.
The initial deal was announced in July and was slated for final touches in the first quarter of 2017. Last month, however, Yahoo announced delays into the second quarter as the company assessed the impact of the security breaches, as well as closing condition requirements. The possibility of revised deal signals that the investigations into the breaches have come to a close.