Verizon to sell Yahoo and AOL for $5 Billion to Apollo
US telecoms giant Verizon is selling its media assets, which includes Yahoo and AOL, to Apollo Global Management, a US private equity firm in a deal worth $5bn (£3.6bn). Verizon will retain a 10% stake in the company, which will be known as Yahoo at the close of the transaction and continue to be led by CEO Guru Gowrappan.
According to Verizon this corporate carveout will allow Verizon Media to aggressively pursue growth areas and stands to benefit its employees, advertisers, publishing partners, and nearly 900 million monthly active users worldwide.
“The past two-quarters of double-digit growth have demonstrated our ability to transform our media ecosystem. With Apollo’s sector expertise and strategic insight, Yahoo will be well-positioned to capitalise on market opportunities, media, and transaction experience and continue to grow our full-stack digital advertising platform. This transition will help to accelerate our growth for the long-term success of the company.” Guru Gowrappan, CEO, Verizon Media.
Dominating the internet
Yahoo and AOL once dominated the internet but were subsequently overshadowed by firms like Google and Facebook, instead, they both became giant publishers. Yahoo Sports is a popular destination with sports fans, and Yahoo Finance provides a wealth of information for retail traders. AOL acquired a variety of early media brands, including the Huffington Post (now HuffPost), TechCrunch and Engadget, and several digital ad-tech companies to create a giant platform for advertising. Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 and AOL in 2015 for a combined $9bn, so are selling at a considerable loss.
“The next iteration requires full investment and the right resources. During the strategic review process, Apollo delivered the strongest vision and strategy for the next phase of Verizon Media. I have full confidence that Yahoo will take off in its new home.” Hans Vestberg, CEO, Verizon.
The sale by Verizon comes after it disposed of blogging platform Tumblr in 2019 and news website HuffPost last year. Under the terms of the agreement, Verizon will receive $4.25 billion in cash and preferred interests of $750 million. The transaction includes the assets of Verizon Media, including its brands and businesses.
The transaction is subject to satisfaction of certain closing conditions and expected to close in the second half of 2021.
MessageBird raises $1B and acquires SparkPost
MessageBird, a Dutch communications software start-up, has announced that it has raised more funding and agreed to acquire SparkPost, a commercial email platform, in a $600 million all-cash deal to help expand its presence in the United States.
The company has said it raised a total of $1 billion in a Series C funding round, $200 million of which was raised last year. The deal, led by Eurazeo, comprised $700 million in fresh equity and $300 million in debt. Tiger Global, BlackRock, and Owl Rock also joined as new investors.
MessageBird allows customers to add a few lines of code to their app or website so customers can text, email, or call in with questions. Channels that customers can access via the platform already include Live-chat, Video, SMS, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google Business Messages, Apple Business Chat, Messenger, and WeChat. The acquisition of SparkPost will strengthen emails as part of MessageBird’s suite of communication tools.
“The future of communications isn’t siloed — it’s omnichannel,” Robert Vis, CEO of MessageBird. “Our acquisition of SparkPost will further strengthen our ability to serve customers through email as a powerful value channel, and with the most contextual, relevant information. We’re also enthusiastic to expand our global business into the US market and leverage the acquisition as a logical and exciting next step in our mission to be the leading platform of choice for businesses to communicate with their customers on any channel, globally.”
SparkPost helps senders reliably reach the inbox with powerful solutions to help them plan, execute and optimise their email programs. It provides a cloud API solution that enables applications and websites to send and receive emails.
Vis explained that the company already has a strong presence in Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, and added that the new deal with SparkPost will allow it to split its operations across four major markets. The combined company will have a total of 25,000 customers and 700 employees, as well as a revenue run rate of $500 million, MessageBird said.
This new acquisition comes off the back of two earlier this month, acquiring Dutch video software firm 24sessions and Atlanta-based customer data platform Hull.io. Back in January the company also acquired London-headquartered messaging start-up Pusher.