Verizon has laid off 7% of workers in its oft-reconfigured and rebranded digital media business, accounting for around 800 employees.
"These were difficult decisions, and we will ensure that our colleagues are treated with respect and fairness, and given the support they need," said Guru Gowrappan, Verizon Media's CEO, in a letter to employees. "I want to be clear that we will continue to scale, launch new products and innovate. We are an important part of Verizon.”
The move marks an unfortunate end of an expensive plan by Verizon to transition from a wireless and wireline focused telecom into a media giant that could compete with Google and Facebook for digital ad money.
Along the way, Verizon purchased AOL for $4.6 billion, and Yahoo! for another $4.48 billion. In December, Verizon took a $4.6 billion write-down, acknowledging that its Oath Brands—the initiative wrought by the pricey acquisitions—had failed.
These tough moves don’t mark the end of the line for Verizon in the media business. The company is reportedly still high on components like Yahoo-branded news, sports, finance and entertainment portals, which remain vital content assets under new priorities that built around 5G mobile networks.
Verizon Digital Media Services is reportedly still a priority as well.
Verizon’s retrenchment comes as AT&T begins to integrate Time Warner Media into its longterm wireless broadband distribution plan, and Comcast ingests U.K. satellite TV company Sky to also transition into a global media power.