Deal Between Verizon And Yahoo Delayed

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has pushed back the expected closing date for its purchase of Yahoo Inc.’s (NASDAQ:YHOO) main business. Verizon cited “work required to meet closing conditions” as the reason for the delayed timetable. The transaction had been expected to close in the first three months of 2017. Now, it is believed that the transaction will close sometime during the second quarter.

Yahoo has been the subject of two huge data breaches since the transaction was announced, causing Verizon to take another look at the deal. Yahoo disclosed the theft of personal data of more than 500 million user accounts in September. The breach was believed to have occurred during 2014. The stolen data included names, email addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and encrypted passwords.

A different massive data breach that occurred in 2013 was revealed in mid-December. That breach compromised the private information of more than 1 billion user accounts. Verizon was close to an agreement with Yahoo on how to handling future hacking liabilities when the second, larger hack was revealed. After the second disclosure, concerns rose among investors that the deal was at risk of falling apart. The deal was expected to be worth about $4.8 billion.

Yahoo said it has been continuing to work with Verizon on integration planning. Yahoo said in a statement that it is “working expeditiously to close the transaction as soon as practicable.” After the sale of Yahoo’s main business, the remaining company will contain Yahoo’s 15 percent stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and 35.5 percent interest in Yahoo Japan. The name of the company will change to Altaba Inc.

Yahoo reported fourth-quarter earnings of $162 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with a loss of $4.43 billion, or $4.70 per share, a year earlier. The year-ago quarter included a $4.46 billion write-down. On an adjusted basis, per-share earnings were 25 cents, up from 13 cents a share the previous year. Analysts had expected 21 cents per share, on average.

Yahoo reported $1.47 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 15.4 percent from $1.27 billion reported last year. This was higher than analysts’ expectations of revenue of $1.38 billion. Gross search revenue fell 6 percent to $821 million while revenue from advertising unit Mavens rose 25 percent to $590 million.

The company has said it would not hold a conference call or webcast after the release of the results, citing the pending deal. This is the second straight quarter that Yahoo is not holding a post-earnings call. The company’s shares were up 1.2 percent in heavy after-market trading.