Verizon Communications could be getting ready to pull the trigger on a $5B purchase of Yahoo, ending what has been a months-long sales process for the Internet pioneer, according to a Bloomberg News report.
According to Bloomberg, talks are continuing and though a deal announcement could come in the next few days, it also could ultimately fall apart. Verizon has long been the front-runner for the Yahoo assets, which first went on the block earlier this year.
Verizon is expected to purchase Yahoo’s core Internet assets – its patents, real estate and $31 billion interest in China e-commerce company Alibaba are not expected to be included.
Verizon officials declined comment.
"Until such a time that there is a definitive agreement, we aren't going to comment to preserve the integrity of the process," Yahoo said in a statement.
Both Yahoo and Verizon shares were up slightly in early Friday trading. Yahoo was up 27 cents each (0.7%) to $39.12 per share around 10:45 a.m. and Verizon was up 1.3% (77 cents) to $56.14 each.
A sale would be the end of an era in the Internet space. Yahoo was one of the first successful Internet search engines. But it has been long surpassed by Google, which dominates the space among several others. Forays into TV and other online areas have fallen flat and the company’s biggest asset is the Alibaba stake.
Other bidders have been participating in the process, including AT&T, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and private equity firm TOG Capital, But Verizon, which purchased another old-timey Internet icon AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion, reportedly sees synergies between the two. Verizon has been beefing up its holdings in the ad-tech space and Yahoo could mesh with its AOL holdings, run by former Google executive Tim Armstrong.