Report: Verizon’s Yahoo acquisition to go ahead at a $250M+ discount


Verizon Communications Inc.’s acquisition of Yahoo Inc. looks set to go ahead but at a reduced price, according to multiple reports published Wednesday.

Bloomberg claims people familiar with the matter have said that Verizon has negotiated a $250 million discount on the $4.8 billion acquisition price following Yahoo’s revelation of security breaches in 2016. It also said both Verizon and Altaba Inc., the company that will take on the parts of Yahoo that Verizon will not be acquiring, which has stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, will share any ongoing legal liabilities related to the breaches. Recode puts the discount at $350 million, according to “sources close to the situation.”

The news that Verizon appears set to proceed with the acquisition follows speculation that the company was considering walking away from the deal. Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis had said on a call in January that “there’s been good progress [on the deal], but we are still awaiting the final reports and therefore we haven’t reached any conclusions yet” about whether the acquisition would go ahead.

Potential liabilities from the hack and Yahoo’s failure to disclose them until 2016 despite the two hacks dating back to 2013 and 2014 come on several fronts:

Proving perhaps that it can never catch a trick, Yahoo issued a warning to users Wednesday of potentially malicious activity on their accounts between 2015 and 2016 — that is, after the two hacks had occurred. The latest problem is said to be due to “forged cookies” being used by hackers to access users’ accounts. An email sent to affected users read:

“Our outside forensic experts have been investigating the creation of forged cookies that could allow an intruder to access users’ accounts without a password. Based on the ongoing investigation, we believe a forged cookie may have been used in 2015 or 2016 to access your account.”

It’s not known how many Yahoo customers are affected.

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