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Verizon Media to be Acquired by Apollo Funds

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE: APO) (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, "Apollo") today announced that funds managed by affiliates of Apollo (the "Apollo Funds") entered into an agreement to acquire Verizon Media for $5 billion. Verizon will retain a 10% stake in the company, which will be known as Yahoo at close of the transaction and continue to be led by CEO Guru Gowrappan.

One of the world's premier global technology and media companies, Verizon Media is comprised of iconic brands such as Yahoo and AOL, as well as leading ad tech and media platform businesses. The corporate carveout will allow Verizon Media to aggressively pursue growth areas and stands to benefit its employees, advertisers, publishing partners and nearly 900 million monthly active users worldwide.

Yahoo! Reports Third Quarter 2012 Results

Yahoo! Inc. today reported results for the quarter ended September 30, 2012. Revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs ("Revenue ex-TAC") was $1,089 million for the third quarter of 2012, a 2 percent increase compared to the third quarter of 2011. GAAP revenue was $1,202 million for the third quarter of 2012, a 1 percent decrease from the third quarter of 2011.

Excluding restructuring charges for both years, operating income on a non-GAAP basis was $177 million in the third quarter of 2012 compared to $175 million in the third quarter of 2011. On a GAAP basis, income from operations decreased 14 percent to $152 million in the third quarter of 2012, compared to $177 million in the third quarter of 2011.

Henrique de Castro Named Chief Operating Officer of Yahoo!

Yahoo! Inc. announced today that Henrique de Castro has been hired as chief operating officer (COO). Reporting directly to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, de Castro will be responsible for strategic and operational management of Yahoo!'s sales, operations, media and business development worldwide.

"Henrique is an incredibly accomplished and rigorous business leader, and I'm personally excited to have him join Yahoo!'s strong leadership team," said Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!. "His operational experience in Internet advertising and his proven success in structuring and scaling global organizations make him the perfect fit for Yahoo! as we propel the business to its next phase of growth."

comScore Releases March 2012 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released its monthly comScore qSearch analysis of the U.S. search marketplace. Google Sites led the explicit core search market in March with 66.4 percent of search queries conducted.

U.S. Explicit Core Search

Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in March with 66.4 percent market share, followed by Microsoft Sites with 15.3 percent and Yahoo! Sites with 13.7 percent. Ask Network accounted for 3.0 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.6 percent.

Yahoo! Announces Next Restructuring Round

Yahoo! today confirmed that it is taking important next steps to reshape the company for the future.

"Today's actions are an important next step toward a bold, new Yahoo! - smaller, nimbler, more profitable and better equipped to innovate as fast as our customers and our industry require. We are intensifying our efforts on our core businesses and redeploying resources to our most urgent priorities. Our goal is to get back to our core purpose - putting our users and advertisers first - and we are moving aggressively to achieve that goal," said Scott Thompson, CEO of Yahoo!. "Unfortunately, reaching that goal requires the tough decision to eliminate positions. We deeply value our people and all they've contributed to Yahoo!."

Yahoo Axing Thousands of Jobs

Yahoo CEO is working on major restructuring of the company that could slash thousands of jobs. The restructured Yahoo would take shape in January. This is the internet giant's first major change under its ex-PayPal CEO Scott Thompson. The restructuring will focus on products group, research, marketing and public relations, and businesses that are not core to the company. "As we have indicated, our leadership is engaged in a process that will generate significant strategic change at Yahoo, but final decisions have not yet been made at this point. Beyond that, we will not comment," Yahoo said in a statement given to Reuters.

Yahoo US Search Share Slips In January, Google Still on Top

According to comScore, the month of January has seen all major players in the US Internet search market keep the positions held at the end of 2012. Still, there have been small changes as Google increased its share to 66.2% (66.1% in the previous month) while Yahoo dropped a little, from 16.2% in December to 16.0%.

Following Google and Yahoo was Microsoft with a 13.8% market share, while on the fourth and fifth places in January's top we have Ask and AOL with 2.6% and 1.4%, respectively. Almost 20 billion core search queries were conducted in the US in January.

Data of 50 Million MegaUpload Users To Be Deleted

Let's face it, to think that every MegaUpload user has copyrighted content uploaded on the site is like saying everyone going to work at Capitol Hill is naughty (did we just say that?). Regardless, data uploaded by as many as 50 million users faces deletion this week due to non-payment of MegaUpload's dues to its third-party hosting providers.

This data could be anything from precious legitimate online data backups to the alleged copyrighted content, including data backups by paid subscribers. This, even before the users could have a chance to download their data as the site went offline abruptly on the 19th of this month. Before similar services such as Yahoo! Briefcase went offline (because the company discontinued the service), users were notified, and had a chance to download their data, as it faced deletion. MegaUpload had as many as 150 million registered users.

Yahoo! Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Results

Yahoo! Inc. today reported results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2011. Revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs ("revenue ex-TAC") was $1,169 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, a 3 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2010. Income from operations increased 10 percent to $242 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to $220 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

GAAP revenue was $1,324 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, a 13 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2010.

World IPv6 Launch Solidifies Global Support for New Internet Protocol

Major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services by 6 June 2012.

Organized by the Internet Society, and building on the successful one-day World IPv6 Day event held on 8 June 2011, World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet's continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development.

Yahoo! Appoints Scott Thompson Chief Executive Officer

Yahoo! Inc., the premier digital media company, today announced the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 9, 2012, at which time Tim Morse will resume his role as Chief Financial Officer. Thompson has also been appointed to the Company's Board of Directors, effective January 9, 2012.

Thompson served most recently as President of PayPal, a division of eBay, where he continued his established track record of growing businesses by driving customer engagement built on strong technology platforms. Under his leadership, PayPal solidified its lead as the global online payment service, expanding its user base from 50 million to more than 104 million active users in 190 countries worldwide, increasing the number of merchant partners to more than 8 million globally, and growing revenues from $1.8 billion to $4+ billion in 2011.

Shot Down In Flames: Darling Of The Tech Industry, Rambus

Rambus is the company best known for suing dozens of companies over memory patents that it holds and is suing so prolifically, that many just see this company as a patent troll. It has been accused many times of obtaining submarine patents while a member of the JEDEC group until a decade ago, which it is now fraudulently using to try and extort royalties from every other company using DDR memory and its derivatives. Unfortunately, those lawsuits didn't stick, encouraging Rambus to carry on enthusiastically. Rambus won patent fights against NVIDIA and Samsung for example, who now have to pay them ongoing royalties. However, it looks like Rambus may have bitten off more than it could chew, because it has just lost a $4 billion antitrust lawsuit against Micron Technology Inc and Hynix Semiconductor Inc, erasing more than half of the chipmaker's value as investors abandoned its stock in droves. Rambus stock immediately plunged more than 60% on this good news.

Customer Agony over Netflix's Price Rises & New Split Personality

Netflix's CEO, Reed Hastings, has apologized for mishandling a recent price increase that caused customers to fly away in droves. However, that was immediately drowned out by the decision to split the Netflix service into two, one with the odd name of Qwikster. The new streaming service will still be called Netflix and continue to have the same dedicated website as the old physical media one, However, the DVD rental service is now branded Qwikster, which will also have it's own site. Crucially, both sites will operate completely independently, which means separate logins and user profiles for each one, causing significant inconvenience to customers.

Microsoft Would Reopen Yahoo Talks with New Yahoo Board

Microsoft said on Monday that it was willing to reopen talks on a "major transaction" with Yahoo if the Internet giant replaces its board of directors. Microsoft confirmed comments from corporate raider Carl Icahn about talks that could lead to a new takeover bid if Yahoo replaces its board of directors next month.

"We confirm ... that after the shareholder election Microsoft would be interested in discussing with a new board a major transaction with Yahoo, such as either a transaction to purchase the 'Search' function with large financial guarantees or, in the alternative, purchasing the whole company," Microsoft said in a statement. The software giant said "it would be premature to discuss at this time important details such as the price or other terms of a possible transaction." They added: "We respect the right of Yahoo's shareholders to determine the destiny of their company, and we do not intend to engage in ongoing commentary on these issues in advance of Yahoo's shareholder meeting."

Some reports said Yahoo is seeking other alliances to fend of a bid from Microsoft, including a tie-up with AOL, a unit of Time Warner.

Microsoft Merger Rumor Prompts Yahoo Trading

Rumors are circulating once again that Microsoft is holding acquisition talks with Yahoo. This time Microsoft's offer is supposedly lower than its previous offer of 33 USD per share, which yahoo turned down when it requested 37 USD per share. The rumored talks have given a slight boost to Yahoo's stock, which started at 21.18 USD today, but rose to 23.71 USD. The stock also exhibited a higher than normal trading volume of 68.1 million share, compared to a daily average of 39.3 million. Representative of both Yahoo and Microsoft declined to comment on the rumored talks.

Microsoft Reportedly Recruiting Engineers Away from Yahoo

Microsoft has started a recruitment-drive aimed at Yahoo's engineers after futile attempts to acquire the company.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Microsoft sent a detailed email to marketing staff and select engineers. The email reportedly said. "I know a lot of people from Yahoo have been reaching out to us lately because they are nervous about the pending layoffs. I wanted to give you an opportunity to explore Microsoft careers as well."

Microsoft has several offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it is now showing a renewed interest in adding office space and employees. Microsoft already has offices in San Francisco and Mountain View, about one million square feet of office space, and 2,000 employees.

Sources: DailyTech, The Mercury News

Microsoft Considering Working with Yahoo! Once Again, Issues a Statement

Microsoft Corp. today issued the following statement:
"In light of developments since the withdrawal of the Microsoft proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft announced that it is continuing to explore and pursue its alternatives to improve and expand its online services and advertising business. Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo! Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo! at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo! or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft or with other third parties.

"There of course can be no assurance that any transaction will result from these discussions."

Yahoo! Responds to Microsoft Withdrawal

Yahoo! has issued a statement in response to Microsoft's decision to pull out of its acquisition offer. Yahoo!'s Chairman Roy Bostock said,
We remain focused on maximizing shareholder value and pursuing strategic opportunities that position Yahoo! for success and leadership in its markets,
From the beginning of this process, our independent board and our management have been steadfast in our belief that Microsoft's offer undervalued the company and we are pleased that so many of our shareholders joined us in expressing that view. Yahoo! is profitable, growing, and executing well on its strategic plan to capture the large opportunities in the relatively young online advertising market.
Yahoo!'s CEO Jerry Yang also added:
With the distraction of Microsoft's unsolicited proposal now behind us, we will be able to focus all of our energies on executing the most important transition in our history so that we can maximize our potential to the benefit of our shareholders, employees, partners and users.

Microsoft Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Yahoo!

Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc.
We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees,
said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

Yahoo And Google To Move Ahead On Partnership

The trial Yahoo has been conducting to display Google ads in its search results has been judged a success, according to sources close to the companies, and Yahoo is set to move ahead on the partnership with its one-time biggest rival in an attempt to stave off Microsoft's $42 billion takeover offer. We mentioned on Monday that an alliance between Yahoo and Google could receive heavy criticism from US and EU competition regulators, both companies are now working on a solution. Perhaps such a solution would be to only allow Google to serve ads in certain categories or regions. Even though this would limit the cash flow boost to Yahoo, the company would still come out significantly richer in the end, perhaps by as much as $500 million a year. Yahoo is also in talks with AOL over a merger to further increase its cash flow.

Higher Antitrust Bar for Yahoo!-Google Partnership

Experts are claiming that a business partnership between Google and Yahoo! could be more heavily criticised by US and EU competition regulators than a merger between Microsoft and Yahoo!. Aaron Edlin, who teaches law and economics at the University of California at Berkeley said:
The Justice Department would certainly want to take a serious look at that because it would mean that a firm that would want to take advertisements or to place advertisements (online) would have only one place to go.
Google was the top search engine in February, accounting for 59.2% of US web searches, with Yahoo! and Microsoft lagging behind on 21.6% and 9.6% respectively. Microsoft has proposed a $42 billion takeover bid for Yahoo! in an attempt to combat this dominance, although Yahoo! has so far refused to accept the deal.

Microsoft Sends Letter to Yahoo!

It would seem that Microsoft has grown a little impatient over its takeover bid for Yahoo! earlier this year and has now sent a letter to the company persuading it to sit down and negotiate a deal:
It has now been more than two months since we made our proposal to acquire Yahoo! at a 62% premium to its closing price on January 31, 2008, the day prior to our announcement. Our goal in making such a generous offer was to create the basis for a speedy and ultimately friendly transaction. Despite this, the pace of the last two months has been anything but speedy.

Gates Looses $3 Billion from Personal Fortune in Yahoo Bid; Tech Stocks Plummet

It seems that Yahoo isn't the only one suffering from the failed buy-out of Yahoo by the hand of Microsoft. Sir William Gates III is reported as having lost over $3 billion USD from his personal fortune in Microsoft stock just from trying to buy Yahoo. However, Gates' fortune is just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Google bosses Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, and Dell founder Michael Dell all are watching their fortunes and stock values plummet "like a team of free falling elephants." Even Steve Jobs, who should be swimming in the pool of wealth his entertainment gadgets have given him, is instead watching in horror as his share price looses a whopping 40% value in the stock market. Jobs, personally, has lost over $400 million in the past six weeks.

Yahoo Buys Video Service Maven Networks for $160 Million USD

Whilst Microsoft is in the middle of what The Inquirer calls a "hostile takeover" of Yahoo, Yahoo decided to buy a company of their own. Maven Networks recently accepted a $160 million offer to be bought out by Yahoo. It is very likely that this move was to increase the value of Yahoo. It should be noted that Yahoo was in talks with Maven long before the whole Microsoft-buying-Yahoo debacle. As part of the acquisition, Yahoo gets some fine deals with CBS Sports, Gannett, News Corp, Hearst and Sony Pictures. Yahoo will not lay off any of Maven's 70 employees, despite laying off nearly 1,000 of their own. Another large benefit to Yahoo acquiring Maven will be the sudden boost of places where Yahoo can shove their advertisements, further increasing revenue. Whether or not this is enough to fend off the "hostile takeover", we'll have to wait and see.
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