Yahoo and AOL, the two pioneering web services of the internet age, have been sold again after the latest owner failed to revive their fortunes.
US telecoms giant Verizon is selling its media assets, which include the two companies, to the US private equity firm Apollo Global Management, in a deal worth $5 billion.
Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 and AOL in 2015 for a combined $9 billion. Yahoo and AOL were once trailblazers, but were subsequently overshadowed by firms like Google and Facebook. Verizon will retain a 10 percent stake in the division.
Yahoo and AOL were pioneers in offering a wide range of free and informative web services to consumers, long before Google came into existence.
Verizon bought the two brands in the hope of a quick entry into the digital advertising market, believing they still had enough resonance with consumers.
By providing free web mail and chat messenger services, the two firms had a cornerstone for online advertising on the market, as most internet users in the early 2000s were accessing their websites and software on a daily basis.
Yahoo also provided everything from the news, weather reports, sports results and movie release dates; to message boards, its own version of eBay – Yahoo! Auctions – and real-time markets data.
But over the last decade, Yahoo and AOL have faced an uphill struggle against more powerful rivals like Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, Fandango and Weather.com, due to a saturated internet market.
Verizon also made a mistake in failing to acquire Yahoo’s equity stake in Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, as well as Yahoo Japan, where Yahoo! Auctions is still thriving.