Yahoo provided the main entrance to the web for an early generation of internet users, and its services still attract a huge traffic of around a billion visitors per month. But the internet is an unforgiving place for yesterday’s greatest idea, and Yahoo has now reached the dead end as an independent company.
The owners of the Silicon Valley Company have agreed to sell its core internet operations and land holdings to Verizon Communications for $4.8 billion. The formal announcement of the acquisition may come anytime now. The deal includes Yahoo’s real estate assets, while some intellectual property is to be sold separately. Yahoo shareholders will be left with its stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Yahoo Japan Corp., with a combined market value of about $40 billion.
The exact terms of any acquisition are not yet clear. Yahoo declined to comment on the process “until we have a definitive agreement,” a company statement said. But the deal is almost certain to include Yahoo News, Mail and other online services used by more than a billion people worldwide.
Founded in 1994, Yahoo was one of the last independently operated pioneers of the web. Started primarily as a Search Engine, the company soon expanded to many fields, offering searches, email, shopping and news. These services, which were mostly free to consumers, were supported by advertising displayed on its various pages.
The company was done in by Google and Facebook, two comparatively younger online giants that seem to have figured out that survival requires a continuous process of reinvention and staying ahead of any possible competitors. Yahoo, which had earlier tried buying both companies, watched its base tremble as its user base moved on to other apps and social media networks.
Verizon, on the other hand, plans to use Yahoo’s vast array of content and advertising technology to offer more vibrant services to its customers and advertisers. It will be interesting to see how the telecom giant tackles Google and Facebook.