Verizon has finally closed its acquisition of Yahoo for US$4.48 billion (£3.5 billion) as well as closing the book on Yahoo's CEO, Marissa Mayer, who has resigned. The finalisation of the deal comes after a long and fraught process during which it was revealed that Yahoo was subject to one of the largest breaches in history.
Verizon, one of the world's largest media organisations, announced its intention to buy the former tech giant in July 2016. In the year following the announcement, it came to light that Yahoo had been hacked twice in 2014. The first breach claimed the information from 500,000 profiles and was closely followed by another, which took the data of over 1 billion accounts and was quickly labelled the largest breach ever.
The fallout from the admission, prompted suspicion that the deal would even go ahead. The sale price of Yahoo eventually took a significant tumble, with Verizon reasoning that the upcoming litigation costs from users affected by their breaches would likely cost whoever owned Yahoo dearly. The breaches would eventually discount Yahoo by US$350 million (£273 million).
Matters were made even worse when the public learnt that Yahoo executives had known about one of its breaches since 2014, but had not told its users, its shareholders or its soon-to-be owner, Verizon.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) eventually indicted four people. Two hackers and their two Russian intelligent agent handlers, the DoJ allege, stole Yahoo information and used it to forge authentication cookies, whereby they could access the private records of Yahoo and its users without requiring passwords. While the Russian agents used the breaches to acquire intelligence, at least one of the hackers privately profited off the personal information he had stolen.
Verizon intends to combine Yahoo with another early internet pioneer, AOL, with which it will create a new venture dubbed Oath with Tim Armstrong, AOL's chief executive, at the helm.
Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange told SC Media UK that even with the new skin, Yahoo bears a deep wound: “the integrity of Yahoo as an email provider is in tatters. As a user, if you're not having your details leaked online you can be sure the US government is rifling through your emails and attachments.”
“The business case for an alternative solution is clear”, added Laguna., “hHundreds of thousands of users and businesses are migrating from Yahoo's platform in search of a secure email provider they can trust.”
Verizon will reportedly cut about 15 percent of Yahoo's 14,000 employees as it integrates the company with Yahoo.