(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc. said Monday it would buy Yahoo Inc’s core internet properties for $4.83 billion in cash to expand its digital advertising and media business, in a deal that ends a lengthy sale process for the fading Web pioneer.
The purchase of Yahoo’s operations will boost Verizon’s AOL internet business (AOL is the Huffington Post’s parent company), which it bought last year for $4.4 billion, and give it access to Yahoo’s ad technology tools, BrightRoll and Flurry, and assets such as search, mail and messenger.
The deal, expected to close in early 2017, marks the end of Yahoo as an operating company, leaving it with a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and a 35.5 percent interest in Yahoo Japan Corp.
“The sale of our operating business, which effectively separates our Asian asset equity stakes, is an important step in our plan to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo,” Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said in a statement on Monday.
Yahoo will continue as an independent company until the deal receives shareholder and regulatory approval, the companies said.
In a Tumblr blog post, Mayer said she planned to stay at Yahoo, but Verizon’s Marni Walden, who will head the combined company, told CNBC the new leadership team has yet to be determined.
The sale does not include Yahoo’s cash, its shares in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, shares in Yahoo Japan, Yahoo’s convertible notes, certain minority investments or Yahoo’s non-core patents.
The Alibaba and Yahoo Japan investments are worth about $40 billion, while Yahoo had a market value of about $37.4 billion as of Friday’s close.
Verizon prevailed over rival bidders for Yahoo, including AT&T Inc; a group led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and backed by billionaire Warren Buffett; private equity firm TPG Capital LP; and a consortium of buyout firms Vector Capital and Sycamore Partners.
Under pressure from activist investor Starboard Value LP, Yahoo launched an auction of its core business in February after shelving plans to spin off its stake in Alibaba.
In premarket trading, shares of Verizon were up slightly at $56.30, while shares of Yahoo were down 1.5 percent at $38.80.
(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum)