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Yahoo! shareholders! sign! off! sale! to! Verizon!, which! sharpens! axe!

Purple Palace as we know it to close on June 13th

By Simon Sharwood, 9 Jun 2017

Yahoo!'s shareholders have formally approved the sale of the company's operating businesses to Verizon.

The company says it “anticipates that the Sale Transaction will close on June 13, 2017.”

Once that happens, Yahoo! will change its name to Altaba and re-structure itself as an investment company. Altaba's portfolio will include big slabs of Chinese web concern Alibaba and Yahoo! Japan, a Yahoo!-like service that also branched out into e-commerce, smaller stakes in numerous other companies and a patent portfolio. The US$4.8bn that Verizon decided to pay for Yahoo!'s web assets, after knocking the price down due to security breaches, will become another Altaba asset.

Yahoo! investors will end up with a stake in Altaba, which will then figure out to do with its assets in pursuit of the obligation to enhance shareholder value.

Verizon, meanwhile, is strongly rumoured to have up to 2,000 pink slips ready to issue next week, some for incoming Yahoo! employees and others for AOL staffers. Those layoffs will be even more bitter for the fact that Yahoo!'s shareholders also signed off on executive compensation packages that will see millions land in the pockets of managers who engineered a sale but could not turn the company's fortunes around and saw massive data breaches occur on their watches.

The shareholder vote approving the sale ends Yahoo!'s 23-year run as an independent company. Founded in 1994, Yahoo! was the dominant search engine of the late 1990s and early 2000s and also added a portal, messaging, email, music, multi-player games and many other services. But the company's services started to look clunky compared to those offered by Google and it quickly lost market share. While it beat Google to market with a self-service search advertising marketplace, Google captured advertisers' hearts and minds thanks in part to its expanding audience.

The Yahoo! brand will survive at Verizon. And Register readers will feel the company's legacy for for many years to come, as the Purple Palace released plenty of code as open source. Hadoop has its roots in Yahoo!, and the company put a lot of effort into Xen and Apache, among others. The company's still emitting code: in May it released “Athenz” , a tool that makes it possible to move workloads between resources and give them authorization to run in the new location. ®

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