Verizon Would Explore Yahoo Deal If Board Decides to Sell

  • `We'd look at it like anything else,' CEO McAdam says
  • Yahoo's ad tech, online businesses could be strategic fit

Verizon Communications Inc. would explore a possible acquisition of Yahoo! Inc. if the tech company’s board decides to sell it, Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said.

McAdam, speaking in New York Tuesday, said it still wasn’t clear what Yahoo’s board has planned for the Web portal. Yahoo directors met last week to discuss the viability of spinning off its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and whether to seek a buyer for Yahoo’s online businesses.

“We’d look at it like anything else,” McAdam said at the Business Insider Ignition conference.

Yahoo’s advertising technology, including the video-ad startup BrightRoll it bought last year, might be particularly attractive to Verizon, at the right price. The wireless carrier has been doubling down on online video -- spending $4.4 billion earlier this year on AOL Inc. to get its ad-insertion technology -- to try to fuel growth in the saturated mobile phone industry. Impediments to a sale of Yahoo, which also owns sports sites, are the fate of its stake in Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, and the tax implications of a sale of that unit.

McAdam’s comments on Yahoo echoed remarks by his chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, who said Monday at another conference that the company would look at a possible deal with Yahoo “if we see there is a strategic fit and it makes sense for our shareholders.”

Sarah Meron, a Yahoo spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Separately, AOL said Tuesday it plans to eliminate 100 jobs under new parent Verizon, confirming a report by TechCrunch, a technology news website owned by AOL. Two-thirds of the cuts will come from the declining Internet subscription business, according to TechCrunch. AOL, an early Web pioneer, has in recent years refocused on advertising technology, which is what attracted Verizon. The wireless giant this year started go90, a free mobile video service with content aimed at teens and millennials that uses AOL’s ad-insertion technology.

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