As soon as Yahoo appointed Marissa Mayer CEO, we all knew it would end one of two ways: she would repair the deficits of the company and turn it around, or she would be the last CEO of the company. There was no chance that the company would survive losses long enough to replace her, as the troubles were greater than could overcome the search for another leader. Unfortunately the latter turned out to be correct, as the core business auction has finally come to a close, with a new owner at the wheel.
Joining their purchase of AOL, Yahoo's core internet businesses are now part of Verizon. This means that Verizon, who many analysts believed purchased AOL not for their content businesses, now owns some of the biggest names in content production. Including Engadget, The Huffington Post, Flickr, tumblr and Katie Couric, Verizon's portfolio of high profile platforms, publishers and content producers has grown to epic proportions.
The idea of the data provider also being a content provider is one that makes sense from a business perspective. While on the Verizon network, they could give preferential treatment to AOL and Yahoo properties, and make Comcast, Charter, AT&T, etc. second class citizens to the websites and apps. Traditional players have been involved in this business for years. Comcast owns NBC Universal, Time Warner owns Turner. The movement into web properties, though, is an interesting transition.
The next question to ask is, how will companies like AT&T respond? Will they try and find other publishers and content producers to invest in? If the goal is a web-based standoff between network operators, the next most obvious acquisition target is Ziff Davis, the company that owns a large collection of web properties, including IGN, PCMag and Gawker Media. Ziff would be an easy way to get a large collection of properties in a single acquisition. Another target could be CBS Interactive, which owns CNET, GameSpot and last.fm, among others. It would also give them a foothold into television, something that Verizon is currently lacking.
Will Verizon's continued focus on market innovation be what both AOL And Yahoo need? Will AT&T and others try and respond in kind? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.