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Yahoo shareholders approve $4.48bn sale to Verizon

Yahoo shareholders have approved the sale of the company’s core internet business to Verizon for $4.48bn.

The deal includes Yahoo’s main online assets, which include search, email and instant messaging, along with its advertising technology that will be rolled-up into Verizon’s. According to reports, Verizon will cut 2,000 jobs when the deal closes.

According to preliminary results from a shareholder meeting, Yahoo expects the deal to close on June 13 2017. The original internet search company also said it extended a tender offer to buy back up to $3bn in shares to June 2016 from June 2013.

It means that the long-running saga to sell off Yahoo’s internet business is finally coming to an end.  

Yahoo has struggled to compete against an influx of new technology companies including Google and Facebook, but its core internet business was thought to have attracted a number of bidders. The company finally decided on selling up to US telecoms provider Verizon for $4.83bn in July 2016, in a move which would see Verizon’s digital advertising business double in size – but still be a distant third to Google and Facebook.

Yahoo’s decision to sell to Verizon was down to its business model being most closely aligned; it is thought that the other potential buyers were more likely to break up the company to realise the value of its assets.

Verizon had initially bid around $3.5bn, but raised its bid when it became clear that rival ATT had joined the race. However, several security scandals emerged before Yahoo was able to complete the deal.

These scandals included admissions that the company might not have disclosed everything that it should have done about earlier security breaches. Most recently, Yahoo had to admit that some Ymail email accounts had been compromised in a series of ‘forged coookie’ attacks.

Reports had suggested that Verizon was demanding a discount of as much as $1bn off the acquisition price – meaning the telecoms company would have to pay $3.8bn for the company. However, in February, Yahoo agreed to a $350m discount of the price agreed last July, bringing the value of the deal down to $4.48bn.

Before its sale, Yahoo was valued at £35bn, the vast majority of which was down to its stake in Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba and Yahoo Japan – both of which are not included in the deal.

As part of the renegotiations, the remaining portion of Yahoo also agreed to share “certain legal and regulatory liabilities arising from certain data breaches incurred by Yahoo”.

After the sale, Yahoo will be renamed Altaba. 

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