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Verizon Made a $9 Billion Bet on Digital Media. Here’s Why It Failed.

December 13, 2018 / Simon Owens

Many within the media industry weren’t exactly surprised when Verizon announced this week that it was seeking a massive write-down on AOL and Yahoo. The telecom giant acquired the two companies in 2015 and 2017, respectively, paying a combined $9 billion for the privilege. Shortly after the Yahoo acquisition, Verizon merged the two into a single brand it called Oath. Helming this ship was AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and he now oversaw a vast array of properties that included HuffPost, TechCrunch, Engadget, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, AOL.com, and the social blogging platform Tumblr, which Yahoo acquired for $1.1 billion in 2013. As recently as this summer, Armstrong was fielding interviews with Wired in which he touted the company’s new motto: “Build brands people love.”