Verizon agrees to acquire AOL in deal valued at $5.9 billion

New York (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc said it would buy AOL Inc in a deal valued at about US$4.4 billion (S$5.9 billion) to gain access to AOL's digital advertising service and content.

The offer of US$50 per share represents a premium of 17.4 per cent to AOL's Monday close of US$42.59.

Shares of AOL were trading at US$50.05 before the bell.

The deal, which includes about US$300 million of AOL debt, will take the form of a tender offer followed by a merger, with AOL becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon upon completion.

Verizon said it expects to fund the transaction from cash on hand and debt.

Activist-investor Starboard Value LP had urged Yahoo Inc to consider a merger with AOL, whose businesses include the Huffington Post news website and the TechCrunch blog.