Yahoo CEO to quit board after merger

Ms Mayer is expected to remain with Yahoo's core business, which is being bought by US telecom titan Verizon.
Ms Mayer is expected to remain with Yahoo's core business, which is being bought by US telecom titan Verizon.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO • Yahoo confirmed on Monday that chief executive Marissa Mayer will quit the company's board after its merger with Verizon.

Ms Mayer is expected to remain with Yahoo's core business, which is being bought by the US telecom titan. Yahoo is selling its Internet operations as a way to separate those from its more valuable stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba.

The share-tending entity, to be renamed Altaba, will act as an investment company with its board reduced to five members, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Yahoo co-founder David Filo and Ms Mayer will be among those resigning from the board, according to the filing.

When asked what role Ms Mayer will play after the merger with Verizon, the company referred Agence France-Presse to a Tumblr post in July, after the deal to sell the company's core operations was announced.

"For me personally, I'm planning to stay," Ms Mayer said in the post. "It's important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter." Ms Mayer remains Yahoo chief executive.

It still remained unclear how news of recent large-scale hacks might affect Yahoo's deal to sell its core operating assets to Verizon for US$4.8 billion (S$6.9 billion), or Ms Mayer's role going forward.

Yahoo said in December that personal data from over a billion users was stolen in a hack dating back to 2013, twice as big as another breach disclosed just three months earlier.

Verizon said in a statement last month that it would await further news of the investigation before making any decision.

"As we've said all along, we will evaluate the situation as Yahoo continues its investigation," the statement said.

Verizon had said the prior breach was likely "material", meaning it could allow the telecom giant to scrap the deal or lower its offer.

The filing on Monday noted risks faced by Yahoo, including that Verizon might assert claims or renegotiate terms "as a result of facts relating to the security incidents disclosed" .

Yahoo, after a series of reorganisations, decided late last year to sell its main operating business. Yahoo's plan would place its main operating business within Verizon, which has already acquired another faded Internet star, AOL.

The remaining portion would be a holding company with stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.

Yahoo's valuation hit US$125 billion during the dot.com boom, but it has been losing ground since then despite several efforts to reboot.

In the mid-1990s, Yahoo was among the most popular destinations on the Internet, helping many people navigate the emerging Web. It became the top online portal, connecting users to news, music and other content.

But its fortunes started to fade when Google began to dominate with its powerful search engine.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'Yahoo CEO to quit board after merger'. Print Edition | Subscribe