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Hello, Yahoo! Verizon Says Its Media Business Needs to Grow Beyond AOL.

In an interview with Re/code, EVP Marni Walden says Verizon didn't buy AOL to be a bit player in the content business.

Ina Fried / Re/code

Top Verizon execs fell over themselves in the last two days to say that they may be interested in Yahoo, and now another has reiterated that the telecom giant is definitely looking to grow its content and media operations beyond what it got through its acquisition of AOL.

“What I would tell you is we didn’t get into the media company business just to be a single-digit market share player,” EVP Marni Walden told Re/code on Wednesday. “That’s not why we did the deal with AOL. We have much bigger aspirations of how we want to grow that business.”

That’s basically a coy way of saying, hand over the keys, CEO Marissa Mayer.

This kind of public negotiating is unusual for the generally tight-lipped Verizon, which denied it was buying AOL before it did buy it.

Not so with Yahoo! Walden’s comment follows earlier ones from CEO Lowell McAdam and CFO Fran Shammo, who indicated Verizon would consider buying parts of Yahoo if they fit into what the company now owns from buying AOL.

The AOL acquisition, which at first was something of a head-scratcher, starts to make sense in this context. Verizon has also launched a mobile video service, Go90, that is largely funded through online advertising.

Walden said in an interview that the company is eyeing a range of options to make sure that it gets paid for more than just taking bits from one place to another. Content is a key piece of that, Walden said, pointing to AOL-owned sites like Huffington Post and Engadget.

“You have to bring audience to the platform,” Walden said. “That’s how you get the flywheel moving.”

And there is more revenue when a company brings its own content rather than just distributing other people’s creations, Walden said.

Walden touched on a range of topics, including her thoughts on the Internet-of-things, expanding diversity in tech and the role of retail stores in Verizon’s future. We’ll have more tomorrow from our interview with Walden, who was in town to hand out awards to a dozen companies using mobile technology to save lives.

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