The Consumerist reports that after losing 1.5 billion customer records in two different hacks, what can you possibly pull off for a third act? That’s what Yahoo is wondering right about now. Its answer? Throw the CEO off the board, change names post-haste, and hope that sweet Verizon acquisition is still on track.
The tech and financial worlds pounced last night on Yahoo’s most recent form 8-K filing, a boring-sounding Securities and Exchange Commission document that can often hold surprisingly important nuggets.
In the 8-K it filed late on Jan. 9, Yahoo outlined its intention for what to do with the part of the company that Verizon doesn’t plan to buy. After Verizon snaps up the big purple Yahoo brand and runs away with it, the remnant will change its name to “Altaba Inc.,” and the board of that company will get significantly rearranged such that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, as well as several other executives, no longer have seats.
Why? Because when Verizon and Yahoo announced their deal back in July, both companies made clear that Verizon wanted to acquire Yahoo brand and internet assets for its $4.8 billion, but would not be purchasing the holding company that now makes up the bulk of the ’90s internet giant’s worth.
And what does that holding company hold? a 15% stake in giant Chinese e-commerce business Alibaba, as well as bits of Yahoo’s Japanese business. At the time when the Verizon deal was announced, those slices of Yahoo’s business were much more valuable than its internet work, considered to be worth around $40 billion — eight times the sale value of Yahoo’s internet businesses.
But there’s a catch, now. Because after having to disclose hack one and hack two, Yahoo suddenly doesn’t look like as rosy an acquisition as it did merely six months ago.
Verizon has said both that it’s on Yahoo to prove that the data breaches aren’t “material” events, and that it is waiting for more information before making that call. Meanwhile, the corporate rumor mill is repeatedly surfacing rumors that at the very least, Verizon wants a big discount on the deal, or in fact may still walk away altogether.
If the Verizon acquisition happens, it will be essentially splitting Yahoo into two companies. The non-public-facing investment company will be the one changing names and shuffling the board. If that deal does not close, however, every plan outlined in this 8-K becomes so much chaff in the wind — and Yahoo will have to figure out what to do next.