Verizon Media is a division of Verizon Communications that focuses on media and online business. Verizon Communications acquired AOL in 2015. When Verizon Communications purchased Yahoo! in 2017, it merged AOL and Yahoo! into a subsidiary named Oath Inc.
|Oath Inc. (2017–2019)|
|Founded||June 13, 2017|
|Guru Gowrappan (CEO)|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
Verizon renamed the company Verizon Media in January 2019. Within Verizon Media, AOL and Yahoo! maintain their respective brands.
Verizon Media is a division of Verizon Communications. The company maintains dual headquarters at the former AOL and Yahoo! headquarters buildings in Manhattan, New York, and Sunnyvale, California, respectively. As of December 2019[update], the company employed about 10,350 people.
Verizon announced a $4.4 billion deal to acquire AOL in May 2015. The deal was an effort by Verizon to expand its technology and media offerings. The deal officially closed a month later.
A year after the completion of the AOL acquisition, Verizon announced a $4.8 billion deal for Yahoo!'s core Internet business, looking to invest in the Internet company's search, news, finance, sports, video, email and Tumblr products. Yahoo! announced in September and December 2016 two major Internet security breaches affecting more than a billion customers. As a result, Verizon lowered its offer for Yahoo! by $350 million to $4.48 billion.
The AOL deal and subsequent Yahoo! purchase were led by Verizon's management team, including Lowell McAdam (CEO), Marni Walden (EVP Product) and Tim Armstrong. Walden had been tasked with merging the two entities and delivering on the promise of moving Verizon from an analog to digital platforms business. Walden exited Verizon in 2017 and as later events revealed, the integration did not deliver the expected value.
Two months before closing the deal for Yahoo!, Verizon announced it would place Yahoo! and AOL under an umbrella named Oath. The deal closed on June 13, 2017, and Oath was launched. Upon completion of the deal, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer resigned. Yahoo! operations not acquired in the deal were renamed Altaba, a holding company whose primary assets are its 15.5 percent stake in Alibaba Group and 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo! Japan. After the merger, Oath cut fifteen percent of the Yahoo-AOL workforce. In 2018, Altaba sold Yahoo! Japan to SoftBank Group.
In May 2018, Verizon and Samsung agreed to terms that would preload four Oath applications ("apps") onto Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones. The agreement includes Oath’s Newsroom, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Finance, and go90 mobile video apps (closed in July 2018), with integration of native Oath advertisements into both the Oath apps and Samsung’s own Galaxy and Game Launcher apps.
On September 12, 2018, it was announced that K. Guru Gowrappan would succeed Tim Armstrong as CEO, effective October 1.
On December 3, 2018, the company declared a new set of rules for the Tumblr community that took effect December 17, 2018, banning "adult content". This move raised objections that it harms their LGBTQ community, sexual abuse survivors, sex workers, adult content blogs, and other bloggers. The move came after the Tumblr app was removed from the Apple App Store due to issues with child pornography, leading some to speculate that the ban may have been made to regain access to the App Store.
In December 2018 Verizon announced that it was cutting 10% of Oath's workforce and would write down the value of the business by $4.6B. Verizon management blamed competitive pressures and that the business never achieved the anticipated benefits. The move wiped out all of the goodwill on the balance sheets that accompanied the acquisitions.
Oath was renamed Verizon Media on January 8, 2019.
Some of the digital media brands under Verizon Media include:
- Flickr (sold to SmugMug in 2018)
- Moviefone (sold to Helios and Matheson in 2018)
- Polyvore (sold and merged into SSENSE in 2018)
- MapQuest (sold to System1 in 2019)
- Tumblr (sold to WordPress.com owner Automattic in 2019)
Verizon had partial ownership of Moviefone's former parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., until its liquidation in 2020.
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- Smith, Gerry (April 5, 2018). "MoviePass Acquires Moviefone to Bolster Film-a-Day Service". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
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- Bode, Karl (4 May 2018). "Verizon Brings Its Oath, Yahoo Bloatware to Samsung Phones". DSLReports.com. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
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- Fung, Brian (12 September 2018). "Verizon says Oath CEO Tim Armstrong is stepping down". The Washington Post.
- Ho, Vivian (2018-12-03). "Tumblr's adult content ban dismays some users: 'It was a safe space'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
- Kelly, Heather (2018-12-03). "How Tumblr's adult content crackdown could alienate users". CNN Business. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
- Porter, Jon (2018-11-20). "Tumblr was removed from Apple's App Store over child pornography issues". The Verge. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
- Roettgers, Janko. "Tumblr to Ban All Adult Content". Nasdaq. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
- Byers, Dylan (14 December 2018). "Verizon plans to cut 10 percent of Oath staff". NBC News. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
- Jackson, Abby (2018-12-11). "Verizon will write down $4.6 billion in value of Oath, the unit that combined AOL and Yahoo assets". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
- Siegel, Rachel (13 August 2019). "Tumblr once sold for $1.1 billion. The owner of WordPress just bought the site for a fraction of that". The Washington Post.
- "Our brands". Retrieved November 12, 2019.
- Krouse, Sarah (January 23, 2019). "Verizon To Lay Off 7% of Media Group Staff". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
- Miller, Chance (2019-08-12). "WordPress owner Automattic to acquire Tumblr for 'nominal amount'". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
- Statt, Nick (2018-06-28). "Verizon is shutting down its original video app Go90". The Verge.