Verizon Media (previously named Oath Inc.) is a subsidiary of Verizon Communications that serves as the umbrella company of its digital media and online properties. The name "Oath" was chosen to convey its commitment to the digital media business upon its founding in June 2017, although it was ultimately rebranded as Verizon Media in January 2019.
|Oath Inc. (2017–2019)|
|Founded||June 13, 2017|
|K. Guru Gowrappan (CEO)|
Number of employees
The company was originally created after Verizon, which had acquired AOL on June 23, 2015, purchased Yahoo!'s operating business on June 13, 2017 and merged the two businesses together. Within Verizon Media, AOL and Yahoo! maintain their respective brands. In December 2018, Verizon announced it would write down $4.6 billion (about half) of the value of the combined AOL/Yahoo purchases.
Verizon Media is a subsidiary of Verizon Communications. The company maintains dual headquarters at the former AOL and Yahoo! headquarters buildings in Manhattan, New York, and Sunnyvale, California. As of December 2018[update], the company employed about fourteen thousand 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 the Oath umbrella. 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 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 ads 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 will take effect December 17, 2018, banning "adult content". This move has 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 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)
Verizon has partial ownership of Moviefone's parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc.
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