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Prospective Yahoo buyers would have eyes on its customer data

Matt Hamblen | Dec. 10, 2015
Verizon has already said it would explore a possible acquisition

Analysts and industry observers have put Verizon in the same position as AT&T and Comcast, companies that want to expand their access to Internet content and aggregate customer data. The list of possible Yahoo suitors also includes IAC/Interactive Corp., News Corp., owner of The Wall Street Journal, and Time.

Buyers like Verizon would want access to the "analytical, predictive nature of Yahoo's data to use for ad placements," said Hunter Newby, CEO of Allied Fiber and a communications industry veteran with roots going back to WorldCom. Allied Fiber has installed fiber optic cable from Miami to Atlanta and provides access to domestic and global network operators.

"That data is worth money," he added. "Yahoo has tremendous information on searches and how people have used instant messaging. All that data will go into a larger block of data for whoever buys Yahoo."

Access providers like Verizon want to be more like Google and Facebook, he said. "The value in any Yahoo deal is the data that's collected on people," Newby added.

Verizon announced in May it was buying another legacy Internet provider, AOL, for $4.4 billion. The deal was closed in June.

Gold said it is not clear, thus far, how well AOL is helping Verizon. "And I am not sure that Yahoo would be the best choice for any of the U.S. carriers at this point," he added.

 

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