Verizon Won’t Drop Yahoo But May Seek Lower Price

October 11, 2016, 12:44 PM UTC

Yahoo’s massive hacking scandal has not deterred Verizon Communications from buying the Internet company, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said on Monday.

But Verizon is still investigating just what happened at Yahoo and whether it caused “material” damage to the company, McAdam said, signaling a possible effort to renegotiate the deal’s $4.8 billion price tag. He rejected reports that Verizon might walk away from the deal.

“That is just total speculation—we still see a real value to the asset there,” McAdam said during the Internet Association’s Virtuous Cycle conference in Menlo Park, California. “But in fairness, we’re still understanding what was going on, to define whether it’s a material impact to the business or not. But the industrial logic of doing this merger still makes a lot of sense.”

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Verizon (VZ) agreed to acquire embattled web portal Yahoo (YHOO) in July after a lengthy sales process. The telecommunications carrier plans to combine Yahoo with its AOL unit to capitalize on the growing online advertising market.

But last month, Yahoo admitted that hackers had penetrated its network in 2014 and stolen at least 500 million user accounts, a theft that appeared to be the biggest cyber breach ever. Yahoo said the stolen data may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and encrypted passwords.

While Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL)and Facebook (FB) currently dominate the online advertising market, McAdam said he thinks advertisers crave a strong third player.

“I think, and we’ll see how AOL and Yahoo come together, but I think that entity can be easily one of the top three,” McAdam said at the conference. “I think we can provide the content and applications that will stand up with anything that goes up on the West Coast.”

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