After agreeing to a $4.8 billion buy-out of Yahoo’s core Internet business back in July, Verizon is reportedly asking for $1B off due to hacking and spying allegations surfaced since the deal was reached.
Just two weeks ago, it was revealed that something in the neighborhood of 500 million Yahoo user accounts were compromised by a “state sponsored actor”—back in 2014. Though passwords themselves taken during the hack were hashed, other pertinent user information (including full name, birthday, address, etc) could be used for identity theft purposes.
While Verizon has remained quiet on the data breach, another acquiree, AOL, and CEO Tim Armstrong have not; and while Armstrong has never publicly decried Yahoo for holding out on information regarding the hack, he did point during this Squawkbox interview that the breach was “new” to his company (insinuating, they didn’t know before entering into this relationship).
Then, came news this week that Yahoo cooperated with the FBI to scan the emails of “hundreds of millions of users” back in 2015. The action has raised serious human rights concerns with the UN, and is creating yet another headache for Verizon & AOL, the latter of which is still working on integrating within their parent company’s infrastructure.
Take this all of this bid discount talk, however, with the grain of salt. The story was first reported by the NY Post, better known for blind item celeb gossip than credible tech journalism. TechCrunch ran with the story as well (citing the NYP, of course)—and as an AOL property, I would expect nothing less…
I can definitely see, on the other hand, Verizon having buyer’s remorse when it comes to Yahoo. Whether or not this is all just a baseless rumor, or a PR play to get Yahoo’s board to accept a lower bid, is anyone’s guess.