CEO Marissa Mayer is trying mightily to put a shiny, happy face on a deal that will effectively be taking away her job and washing away her efforts to turn around Yahoo as what has turned out to be its last CEO.
The iconic Silicon Valley company said it had entered into an agreement to sell itself to Verizon today for $4.83 billion in cash. It will be integrated into its AOL unit under its chief, Tim Armstrong.
While Mayer says she is planning to stay for now — “For me personally, I’m planning to stay. I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you. It’s important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter” — sources said she would likely go after the deal is officially struck in six to nine months.
In fact, one source close to the situation visibly laughed at the idea of Mayer and Armstrong — both former Google execs — sharing the power once all is said and done. “Marissa is not working for Tim at a phone company,” the source joked. No joke!
It’s been a long four-year slog at Yahoo (plus me driving her nuts!), so Mayer gives herself some kudos, but overall it’s a gracious memo given the situation.
Here’s the letter:
Today is a big day for Yahoo! This is the email that I sent to Yahoos around the world today. Given the interest around our journey to this point, I wanted to share more about today’s announcement. –Marissa
Moments ago, we announced an agreement with Verizon to acquire Yahoo’s operating business. This culminates a rigorous, thorough process over many months, and yields a great outcome for the company. Today’s announcement not only brings us an important step toward separating Yahoo’s operating business from our Asian asset equity stakes, it also presents exciting opportunities to accelerate Yahoo’s transformation. Among the many entities that showed interest in Yahoo, Verizon believed most in the immense value we’ve created, and in what a combination could bring our users, our advertisers, and our partners.
This is a good moment to reflect on Yahoo’s journey to date.
Yahoo is a company that changed the world. Before Yahoo, the Internet was a government research project. Yahoo humanized and popularized the web, email, search, real-time media, and more.
What really sets Yahoo apart is the shared passion to create great products for our 1B+ users, and in doing so, transforming the world for the better. You can clearly see that spirit, that commitment, that fight in the work we’ve done together over the past few years. We set out to transform this company – and we’ve made incredible progress. We counteracted many of the tectonic shifts of declining legacy businesses, and built a Yahoo that is unequivocally stronger, nimbler, and more modern. We tripled our mobile base to over 600 million monthly users, we invested in and built Mavens from basically zero in 2011 into $1.6B of GAAP Revenue in 2015, we streamlined and modernized every aspect of our consumer products, and, with Gemini and BrightRoll, we dramatically improved our advertiser products. This only scratches the surface of what we’ve achieved … and we all know how much hard work it took to get here.
It’s because of that hard work and resilience, that Yahoo will realize amazing opportunities in its next chapter.
This sale is not only an important step in our plan to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo, it is also a great opportunity for Yahoo to build further distribution and accelerate our work in mobile, video, native advertising, and social. As one of the largest wireless and cable companies in the world, Verizon opens the door to extensive distribution opportunities. With more than 100 million wireless customers, a shared view of the importance of mobile and video ad tech, a deep content focus through AOL, Verizon brings clear synergies to the table. And with their aggressive aims to grow global audience to 2B users and $20B in revenue within the mobile-media business by 2020, Yahoo’s products and brand will be central to achieving these goals. Joining forces with AOL and Verizon will help us achieve tremendous scale on mobile. Imagine the distribution challenges we will solve, the scale we will achieve, the products we will build, and the advertisers we will reach now with Mavens – it’s incredibly compelling.
The strategic process has created a lot of uncertainty, but our incredibly loyal and dedicated employee base has stepped up to every challenge along the way. Through the first half of the year, we met our operational goals and overachieved on plan. But, further, there are things that you cannot measure, like the passion of the people behind the products. The teams here have not only built incredible products and technologies, but have built Yahoo into one of the most iconic, and universally well-liked companies in the world. One that continues to impact the lives of more than a billion people. I’m incredibly proud of everything that we’ve achieved, and I’m incredibly proud of our team. For me personally, I’m planning to stay. I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you. It’s important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter.
As we work to close this agreement in Q1 2017, it’s more important than ever that we come together as one global team to continue executing on our strategic plan through the remainder of the year. We have delivered the first half of the year with pride, achieving our goals. Now, it is up to us to make Yahoo’s final quarters as an independent company count.
Yahoo is a company that changed the world. Now, we will continue to, with even greater scale, in combination with Verizon and AOL.
Tim Armstrong on the Sale of AOL to Verizon in 2015
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.