Yahoo's massive hack had very little impact on traffic --  and likely won't kill the Verizon deal

Yahoo didn’t lose much traffic during the final three months of the year, even after it revealed that it suffered one of the worst data hacks in history — and for investors waiting for Verizon to complete its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo, that’s very good news.

On Monday, Yahoo announced in its earnings report that user engagement numbers have remained largely intact compared to the same quarter of last year, across page views, email activity, and search trends.

The numbers are particularly encouraging given recent reports that Verizon could potentially pull out of the deal to acquire Yahoo, as the hacks affected more than one billion Yahoo user accounts and could potentially cause current users to ditch the service altogether.

“The company’s user engagement trends seem to indicate the December data breach notification had very little impact on Yahoo Mail activity, which provides us comfort that the Verizon-Yahoo deal should remain on track,” Mizuho’s analyst Neil Doshi wrote in a note Tuesday.

On top of that, Yahoo noted that 90% of its daily active users have “already taken or do not need to take remedial action to protect their accounts,” showing that the company has taken swift action to minimise the hack’s impact on its users.

“We believe that the sale will be completed regardless of Yahoo’s most recent hacking disclosure,” Oppenheimer’s Jason Helfstein wrote in a note.

Here’s the chart Yahoo shared to show its user engagement:

Still, the Verizon-Yahoo deal seems to have a long way to go before it can be completed. In the earnings report, Yahoo said that it’s delaying the timeframe of the transaction to the second quarter of this year, postponing it from the initially announced first quarter of this year.

Yahoo didn’t share more details around the decision to delay the deal. But a source
familiar with the matter told Business Insider that the parties are working through additional questions resulting from Yahoo’s recent disclosures about hacking incidents affecting its service, as well as customary integration matters spanning sales, product and other operations.

Verizon said on Tuesday following its earnings report that it “continues to work with Yahoo to assess the impact of data breaches.”

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