Yahoo, Verizon Agreement Nears After Shareholder Approval

  • Deal with telecom set to close on June 13, web portal says
  • The $4.48 billion acquisition was first announced last year

Yahoo! Inc. shareholders approved the $4.48 billion sale of the company’s main web properties to Verizon Communications Inc., clearing the last major hurdle for a deal announced almost a year ago.

The company said it expects to hand over its web assets to the telecommunications giant on June 13, according to a statement Thursday. The transaction had earlier been delayed by revelations of massive privacy breaches and a reduction in the price from $4.8 billion.

Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer agreed to the sale last year after a four-year turnaround effort failed to stem a slide in advertising revenue. Verizon will seek to use Yahoo’s web audience to push deeper into content and expand beyond its central business of connecting people to the internet, cable channels and their smartphones. Yahoo will become part of a new Verizon unit called Oath that will include media content and digital services like email. The division will also incorporate businesses Verizon added when it bought AOL, another faded internet pioneer, for $4.4 billion in 2015.

In addition to the vote on the transaction, shareholders also approved the advisory vote on compensation for top executives in connection with the Verizon deal. Mayer’s golden parachute, worth about $30 million, includes a $3.02 million severance and $25,081 in benefits. The remainder is about 491,000 shares that will pay out ahead of schedule. They were valued at roughly $26.9 million after Yahoo’s shares rose to $54.76 by 12:11 p.m. in New York.

Late last year, the deal was thrown into question after the Sunnyvale, California-based web portal revealed widespread cyberattacks during Mayer’s tenure that exposed hundreds of millions of users’ online information. In September, Yahoo disclosed a 2014 breach that affected at least 500 million customer accounts. Then, the company said in December that hackers in 2013 siphoned information including users’ email addresses, scrambled account passwords and dates of birth. In February, Yahoo and New York-based Verizon agreed to drop the purchase price by $350 million.

What remains of Yahoo after the sale, when the will be renamed Altaba Inc., will be the most valuable parts of the current company: stakes in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Inc. and Yahoo Japan that are worth more than $40 billion. Altaba, which will be led by current Yahoo director Thomas McInerney, will share ongoing legal responsibilities related to the security breaches.

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