The saga of Yahoo! has been a long, strange saga indeed, from bizarre business models to unfathomable telecommuting decisions and well beyond. Now, the beleaguered company is poised for a sale to Verizon. Before that, however, comes a host of changes that start at the name and go through the company itself.
Perhaps the biggest change is that Yahoo! will no longer be Yahoo! after the close of a sale to Verizon, but rather, Altaba. Verizon has been planning to purchase Yahoo! for around $4.83 billion, which doesn't include either Yahoo! Japan or Yahoo!'s Alibaba stake.
Close on the list of big changes is Marissa Mayer's evacuation from the board of directors. Five other directors were likewise set to resign, and no one's entirely sure if Mayer will be sticking around at all. When the news first broke of the sale to Verizon, she said she was eager to stay on. Now, however, there are few reports to suggest if that fervor is still present.
Indeed, there's even some word that the Verizon purchase may not go off at all, at least not without some changes. Two major hacking initiatives hit Yahoo! and its user base hard in the time between Verizon's announced plans and the present, which has prompted Verizon to demand changes in the terms of the sale to reflect the damage those hacks caused.
So in the end, the changes and board departures may not even happen at all if Verizon decides to abandon the purchase plan. Given how the hacks have plunged Yahoo!'s overall reliability and face in the market, Verizon might well want to reconsider that number it originally offered. Considering further that Yahoo!'s planning a name change besides, that doesn't help matters. And what a name change it is, too; reports from those close to the matter say that “Altaba” is a portmanteau of “alternate Alibaba.”
This news comes at an interesting time, given that Alibaba recently announced a potential push into the United States, as CEO Jack Ma had a meeting with president-elect Donald Trump about bringing more into the U.S. Though the exact details on that point are unclear—some suggest it's more smoke and mirrors than actual jobs—the idea that the alternate Alibaba might be firing up at the same time the original is looking for inroads into the U.S. can't be readily ignored.
So the future looks uncertain for Yahoo!, though potentially quite bright. Only time will tell how this all boils down, but there are a lot of earth-shaking possibilities that could be brought into play.
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