Yahoo Dodges Questions On Hacking, Verizon Deal By Canceling Earnings Call

Verizon has hinted that the hack could affect the $4.8 billion deal.
Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer.
Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer.

Yahoo would rather not face questions from financial analysts about whether its massive email hack could derail the company’s $4.8 billion acquisition by Verizon.

The internet company announced Friday that it will not hold the customary conference call after it releases its third-quarter earnings next week “due to the pending transaction with Verizon.” Verizon announced in July that it had agreed to buy Yahoo for $4.8 billion. (Verizon also owns AOL, The Huffington Post’s parent company.)

The New York Post reported last week that Verizon wanted to cut $1 billion off the acquisition price due to the hack. Verizon denied the report.

In late September, a little less than two months after the deal was announced, Yahoo admitted that at least 500 million of its email accounts had been hacked in 2014. The company claims the culprit is a “state-sponsored hacker.”

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer detailed the hack on a phone call with Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and other executives at the company, The New York Times reported. According to the Times, those conversations raised significant questions among Verizon executives, such as “How could this possibly have happened? Who was behind it? Why is it only becoming known now? Could this jeopardize the deal?”

On Thursday, Verizon’s general counsel, Craig Silliman said at an event in Washington, D.C. that “we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that the impact is material.” Material, the way Silliman used it, essentially means something that would be important to the company’s finances.

Verizon is “looking to Yahoo to demonstrate to us the full impact,” he added. “If they believe that it’s not [material] then they’ll need to show us that.”

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