Verizon still puzzling over Yahoo

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Yahoo hacks have raised questions over $4.8bn acquisition, but Verizon CFO Matt Ellis said the telco has "not reached any conclusions" yet

Verizon “has not reached any conclusions” about its acquisition of Yahoo as investigations into two data breaches at the internet giant continue.

The US operator agreed to buy Yahoo for $4.8 billion last year, but question marks have been raised after Yahoo revealed it had been hit by two of the biggest recorded hacks in history – one in 2013 and the other the following year. Up to one billion user accounts were accessed I the first breach, while the data of 500 million was at risk from the second, Yahoo said.

Last week, Yahoo said it expected the takeover to be delayed until the second quarter of the year, as Verizon assesses the impact, but Verizon CFO Matt Ellis has refused to rule out completing the deal.

Speaking on an earnings call, Ellis explained: “"Our pending Yahoo acquisition would further increase our opportunity to scale in the digital media space, with its 1 billion-plus monthly average unique viewers.

“We are still working with Yahoo to assess the impact of the breaches, and we have not reached any final conclusions yet."

Ellis was speaking on an earnings call as Verizon posted revenues of $32.3 billion for the final three months of 2016, down 6% year on year. Wireless revenue fell 1.5% to £23.3 billion, while net income was down 17% to $4.5 billion.

Verizon is also planning 155 layoffs at its streaming service Go90 mainly in the engineering division, although the operator denied it was changing strategy.

Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said the company is positioned for "future growth and continued sustainable shareholder value."

"In the fourth quarter we expanded our customer base in highly competitive wireless and broadband markets," he added in a statement.

"This capped a year in which we delivered solid results and returned value to shareholders, including $9.3 billion in dividends. 

“We enter 2017 with confidence, based on our investments in next-generation networks and the new capabilities we have acquired. Our goal is to continue to earn our customers' loyalty every day in a rapidly expanding mobile-first digital world."