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Yahoo’s $4.8 billion sale to Verizon, explained

Longtime activist investor Eric Jackson talks with Recode's Kara Swisher on the latest Recode Decode.

You’ve probably heard this part already: Yahoo is selling its core business to telecom giant Verizon for $4.83 billion in cash. But if you haven’t been closely following the fortunes of the pioneering Silicon Valley company in recent years, you may be wondering: How did we get here?

"It’s honestly really difficult to point to one thing that she did," Yahoo activist investor Eric Jackson recalled of CEO Marissa Mayer. "Those first four or five months when she was on the job, just how much hope there was within the company — I was on the outside of the company, but it was palpable and it was real."

Speaking on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Jackson said he was at first a big supporter of Mayer. But Yahoo’s inability to follow competitors like Facebook in the leap from desktop to mobile turned him into a vocal critic.

"The goals were very far off," he said. "There was this constant promise, ‘We gotta do this. We gotta invest in the mavens.’ There weren’t signs of progress along the way."

On the new podcast, Jackson also discussed how he got involved with Yahoo in the first place, the huge significance of its early investment in Alibaba and why he still doesn’t believe the Yahoo story is over.

"I don’t think it’s too far gone," he said. "I’m really intrigued to see what Tim [Armstrong] and Marni [Walden] and everyone else at Verizon can do. People have been saying Yahoo is a dinosaur for 10 years. They were saying that in 2006, 2007."

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