Verizon appears set to go ahead with it’s planned Yahoo acquisition
This will see CEO Marissa Mayer pocket a $23 million “golden parachute”. This deal was first announced 25 July 2015.
Just last Tuesday, a large discount negotiation to the tune of a reduction of $350 million was announced. Following the hacking fiasco in 2015 it was questionable whether or not Verizon would even go ahead with the deal.
Mayer has courted much controversy during her time as CEO of Yahoo. However, she took the helm of an already sinking ship. The series of CEOs who preceded her failed to bring Yahoo forward into the modern internet era.
Yahoo began as one of the earliest internet pioneers. It was the primary go-to web portal from its conception during the mid 90s. However, after a string of bad decisions, it became a grave loser in the race for capturing the interest of netizens.
Yahoo Failed to Enter The Future
These failures began way back before Mayer arrived. In 2002, it is claimed that the company had a golden opportunity to acquire Google. Unfortunately it failed to foresee the future of “search”. From this point onward, they became sluggishly left behind.
Mismanagement after mismanagement left them flailing in the distance. The handling of the Flickr acquisition was so poor that a once popular and decent photography website became a bane for users to deal with. Yahoo has never had the talent to predict future trends and has left itself sitting in the dark.
Terry Semel’s Countless Blunders
Terry Semel was touted as the worst CEO the company had ever seen. His failure to negotiate a higher bid is alleged to be the reason that Yahoo failed to acquire Facebook in 2006. And when co-founder Jerry Yang stood down in 2012, the company likely felt it’s soul and energy leave the building.
Mayer arrived to the company in 2012, fresh from Google, and sought to bring it back to life. But she has had hardly anything to work with.
With Yahoo’s failure to move with the times, she had barely any platform from which to rebuild the once giant internet presence.
Remnants of a Once Great Internet Giant
The only assets that she could work with were mediocre remnants such as it’s email platform. Most of Yahoo’s traffic was for it’s sports coverage. So she did her best to inject it with energy to bring it back into recognition.
Currently, Yahoo stands at being the 6th most visited website globally. It’s news site alone nets approximately 7 billion hits per month. It’s acquisition of Altaba (previously Alibaba) and Yahoo! Japan are keeping it afloat. The Tumblr purchase appears to have been well intentioned misstep.
Mayer as Scapegoat
However, quick to blame anything but the root causes, Mayer became criticized for incidental things. Employees, and the public, cried reverse sexism when it appeared as though a series of male firings took place. It looked as though Mayer had replaced their roles with women.
Mayer’s controversial HR decision, that no longer permitted staff to work at home, put her in the firing line with employees. They also felt that she exercised unfair privilege when she built a nursery for her newborn son beside her office. On top of that, she returned to work merely 2 weeks postpartum. Women employees felt this sent out a negative message.
Mega Yahoo Security Breach
And Yahoo took a major hit when they experienced a severe security breach in 2015. Russian hackers acquired access to around 1 billion email accounts. Terrifyingly, these included accounts owned by high level government officials.
Mayer was quick to comply completely with the FBI. They went on to praise her for being completely open to their enquiries. Yahoo’s Chief Counsel and Secretary, Ronald Bell, resigned following the scandal, and received no payoff. Mayer agreed to forgo her $2 million bonus and $12 million in equity assets.
Lost Trust, Lost Interest
But this has done little to build confidence with web users. As well as losing trust after the security breach, they are hesitant to believe that Yahoo will respect their privacy. And of course, Google and other platforms provide more up to date features and content.
It is not known for sure whether Mayer will stay with Yahoo in some form, after the finalization of the acquisition. The man who is set to replace her role is projected to receive twice the salary she has been enjoying. However, his role will be little more than running the investment division Altaba.
For all the criticisms flung at her, Yahoo was not an easy company for Mayer to attempt to resurrect. And what Verizon will do for the company is still yet to be seen.