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AOL Was Approached by Three Other Bidders After Verizon

They didn't even made a bid, leaving Verizon to deal against itself.

Asa Mathat

AOL was approached by three other companies for a possible acquisition after Verizon made its overture in June of last year, according to recent filings with the Security and Exchange Commission. Of course, Verizon eventually won AOL in a $4.4 billion deal, but even then it turns out the three other companies had never made an offer.

While the documents don’t reveal the three companies, there are other notable details:

  • AOL considered selling off its “brand assets” at one point — namely its websites Huffington Post and TechCrunch.
  • AOL CEO Tim Armstrong gets a special bonus for the deal called a “Founders’ Incentive Award,” which amounts to 1.5 percent of the company’s market value at the time the acquisition is complete. The company is currently trading at about $3.9 billion, roughly translating to $59 million.
  • Verizon, as had been previously reported, was initially considering a joint venture with AOL to make use of its ad technology for the phone company’s plans for ad-supported mobile video efforts.
  • Once Verizon decided it would buy the whole company, it proffered $47 a share, while AOL countered “in the 50s.” They settled at $50.
  • As usual, media banking firm Allen & Co. won, as its annul mogul retreat at Sun Valley was the scene for the initial deal discussions. (But even then you have to wonder if there’ll be many more media deals left to broker anymore.)

This article originally appeared on

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