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.
In December 2018, Verizon announced it would write down the combined value of its purchases of AOL and Yahoo! by $4.6 billion, roughly half.
Verizon renamed the company Verizon Media in January 2019. Within Verizon Media, AOL and Yahoo! maintain their respective brands.
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.
Oath logo, 2017-2019
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.
In August 2019, Verizon sold Tumblr to Automattic, the owner of WordPress.com, for an undisclosed amount which was reportedly less than $3 million.
Some of the digital media brands under Verizon Media include: