Verizon to drop $4.4 billion on AOL
The US telecommunications megacorp, Verizon, with a market capitalization of over $200 billion, has agreed to buy AOL for $4.4 billion. The deal will allow Verizon includes AOL’s advertising platform, mobile streaming services, and content, including such popular websites as the Huffington Post and Engadget.
As the US’s largest wireless provider, Verizon wants to use AOL to develop a “a scaled, mobile-first platform offering” that has set it sights on the nearly $600 billion global advertising industry, putting them in direct competition with the market leader, Google, and runner-up Facebook.
The deal recalls the failed AOL-Time Warner merger 15 years ago, when Time Warner, another large telecommunications provider, sought to buy AOL’s online presence. The global recession and first tech bubble burst a few months later caused AOL to write off a record $99 billion in 2002. Mutual synergies between AOL and Time Warner never developed, and the deal failed.
Verizon is offering $50 a share for AOL, a 17% premium on their closing price of $42.59 on Monday. The deal still needs to pass regulatory approval.