Verizon Communications, reporting that it has quit its media business, said Monday it had agreed to sell Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $ 5 billion.
The sale also includes Verizon’s ad technology business, and the company will retain a 10% stake in the business, Verizon said in a statement announcing the deal Monday.
The transaction is the latest turning point in the history of two of the Internet’s first pioneers. Yahoo was once the Internet’s first page, cataloging the frenetic pace of new websites that sprang up in the late 1990s. AOL was once the service most people used to connect online.
But both were eventually supplanted by more nimble start-ups, like Google and Facebook, though Yahoo and AOL still publish heavily trafficked websites like Yahoo Sports and TechCrunch.
The sale signals the dismantling of a strategy Verizon announced in 2015 when it acquired washed-out Internet giant AOL for $ 4.4 billion. The purchase was intended to give Verizon a path to mobile, with the goal of using AOL’s advertising technology to sell advertisements for digital content. Verizon doubled that strategy in 2017 with its acquisition of Yahoo for $ 4.48 billion, which it combined with AOL under the umbrella of Oath.
But Google and Facebook have proven to be formidable competitors in the digital advertising market. Verizon recognized their power in 2018 by reducing the value of Oath by $ 4.6 billion, attributing the move in part to “increased competitive and market pressures” which had resulted in “lower than expected revenues and profits. “.
Yet the media sector generates a lot of revenue. It recorded $ 1.9 billion in sales in the first quarter, a 10% gain from a year ago.
The S&P 500 is on the verge of an optimistic opening when trading begins on Monday, and European indices are higher, amid positive economic news in Europe and lingering inflation concerns.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.2% and the Dax in Germany gained 0.3%. In Asia, the indices ended the day lower.
In the US, S&P 500 futures were 0.3% higher to start the new month. The benchmark index closed April with a gain of 5.2%, the biggest monthly gain since November.
Oil prices have fallen, as have yields on 10-year Treasuries. Markets were closed in London for a public holiday, and trading was generally moderate, with some countries marking the May 1 public holiday.
Investors may have inflation on their minds after investor Warren E. Buffett on Saturday spoke of the “bubbling” economy at the annual meeting of shareholders of the company he heads, Berkshire Hathaway.
Mr Buffett said the company has seen the cost of building materials rise. “We are seeing substantial inflation,” Mr. Buffet said.
Indeed, commodity shortages in several sectors, including construction, are causing price hikes, Alan Rappeport and Thomas Kaplan report in The New York Times. The tensions are the result of growing demand that is hampered by supply chain disruptions and Trump-era tariffs.
Although the Federal Reserve has described the price increases as temporary and unlikely to get out of hand, pressure on the Biden administration to intervene could increase as it seeks a $ 2 trillion infrastructure investment program. dollars, a price that could increase depending on the cost of building roads. , bridges and charging stations for electric vehicles are increasing.
European manufacturers are healthier
European manufacturing companies are reporting “huge increases in production and new orders,” according to the IHS Markit purchasing manager’s index report for April.
The seasonally adjusted index hit 62.9 points, the highest since survey data became available in 1997, IHS Markit said Monday.
The news came after data on Friday which showed the eurozone economy slipped into recession in the first three months of the year. But economists, pointing to rising vaccination rates and the easing of government restrictions, believe the rest of the year should show robust growth.
To come up
A lawsuit will begin Monday in federal court in California between Epic Games, the company behind the popular game Fortnite, and Apple. Epic has taken Apple to court, claiming it has too much control over developers through its App Store.
On Friday, employment data for April will be released by the Ministry of Labor. Hiring surges are expected as the US economy continues to recover from the year-long pandemic.
Apple and Epic Games, the creators of the hugely popular Fortnite game, are set to go head-to-head on Monday in a trial that could decide how much control Apple can have over the app economy. The trial is set to open with testimony from Tim Sweeney, the head of Epic, explaining why he thinks Apple is a monopoly abusing its power.
The trial, which is expected to last around three weeks, has major implications, Jack Nicas and Erin Griffith report in The New York Times. If Epic wins, it will turn the economy of the $ 100 billion app market upside down and create a way for millions of businesses and developers to avoid sending up to 30% of their app sales to Apple. .
An epic victory would also reinvigorate the antitrust fight against Apple. Federal and state regulators are reviewing Apple’s control over the App Store, and on Friday the European Union accused Apple of violating antitrust laws over its app rules and fees. Apple faces two more federal lawsuits over its App Store charges – one from the developers and one from the iPhone owners – seeking class action status.
Beating Apple would also bode well for Epic’s upcoming lawsuit against Google over the same issues on the App Store for Android devices. This case is expected to be tried this year and would be decided by the same federal judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California.
If Apple wins, however, it will strengthen its grip on mobile apps and quell its growing chorus of criticism, further strengthening the power of a company that is already the most valuable in the world and has surpassed $ 200 billion in sales. in the past six months.
As the post-pandemic economic recovery accelerates, prices for products as diverse as toilet paper, diapers and wood floors are rising – and the increases may soon be felt in consumer wallets.
Procter & Gamble increases the prices of items like Pampers and Tampax in September. Kimberly-Clark said in March he would raise prices for Scott toilet paper, Huggies and Pull-Ups in June, a move that is “necessary to help offset significant inflation in raw material costs.”
And General Mills, which makes grain brands including Cheerios, faces rising supply chain and freight costs “in this high demand environment,” the company’s chief financial officer recently said, Kofi Bruce.
These price increases reflect what some economists are calling a major shift in the way businesses have responded to demand during the pandemic, Gillian Friedman reports in The New York Times.
Before the virus hit, retailers often absorbed costs when suppliers raised product prices, as fierce competition forced retailers to keep prices stable. The pandemic has changed that.
The people who profit from the use of offices by American companies are trying to bring American companies back to the office.
They’ve refined their selling points to play on air filtration systems, flexible rental terms and temporary spaces and brokers are back in their own workplaces in force. They recognize that some things have changed as they seek to prove to their clients, and to themselves, that the office will soon return to something close to what it used to be, Rebecca R. Ruiz reported in The New York Times.
With New York City set to fully reopen in July and with many companies planning to bring in workers this summer and fall, commercial real estate players are hoping the renaissance they’ve been trying to hasten can finally happen.
“We opened our offices as soon as we were cleared to cross the country,” said David Lipson, vice president of Savills, a global brokerage firm. “If you work in office real estate, should you be too comfortable working from home?”
The industry, which is emerging from a boom of continued growth, has seen commissions drop as vacancy rates hit their highest level in decades. Typically optimistic real estate executives are faced with existential questions.
With 1.3 billion square feet of office space available in major U.S. markets – and more in the Manhattan market now than there is in all of Nashville, Orlando or San Antonio, according to the firm CoStar studies – tensions in optimistic projections are visible.