Today, Yahoo announced that, following the close of its merger with Verizon, what’s left of the company will be changing its name to Altaba. This was disclosed in an SEC filing.
Basically, Verizon is paying $4.8 billion solely for Yahoo’s core internet business, leaving behind Yahoo’s 15% of Chinese retail giant Alibaba and a part of Yahoo Japan, which is a joint venture with Softbank. Those assets will continue to exist in a separate company that will now operate under the catchy Altaba name.
Yahoo’s name change represents a sad ending to one of the most familiar names on the internet. Founded by Stanford grad students Jerry Yang and David Filo in 1994, the web pioneer’s name was an acronym that reflected the industry’s wacky early days: Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.
It’s possible that Verizon may continue to use the Yahoo brand for some of the consumer online services that it will acquire in the deal.
“To facilitate the transition of the Company to an investment company,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, cofounder David Filo, and three other Yahoo directors will be stepping down from the board following the closing, says the filing.
Left behind as directors of the new Altaba are Tor Braham, Eric Brandt, Catherine Friedman, Thomas McInerney and Jeffrey Smith, with Brandt serving as Chairman of the Board.
The composition of the Altaba board is a huge coup for Starboard, the activist investor largely credited with pushing Yahoo towards a sale in the first place — Altaba directors Smith and Braham are both from Starboard, meaning that it seems that the firm will wield an outsized influence on this new so-called “investment company.”
In December 2015, Yahoo abandoned plans to spin off its Alibaba stake into a separate company called “Aabaco.”
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