Verizon acquired AOL and Yahoo for about $9 billion. Now it’s selling those assets as part of a $5 billion deal

By May 3, 2021DApps
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POLAND - 2020/10/20: In this photo illustration a Yahoo logo seen displayed on a smartphone.
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The valuation represents a significant decrease from what Verizon paid for the duo a few years ago, when both were already considered fading internet stars. Verizon acquired AOL in 2015 for about $4.4 billion and Yahoo in 2017 for about $4.5 billion.

It’s the end of an era for Verizon, which once sought to reach beyond its telecom core and into online advertising. But it struggled against Facebook and Google, and has offloaded media assets such as HuffPost to Buzzfeed in 2020 and blogging site Tumblr to Wordpress owner Automattic in 2019. Internally, under Hans Vestberg, who became Verizon CEO in 2018, the attention shifted to 5G.

It remains to be seen how Apollo will steer the media businesses, but the private equity firm is no stranger to playing ball in the media. It inked a $3 billion deal with Cox Media in 2019 and also helped finance the acquisition of newspaper publisher Gannett that same year.

While the business was not a fit for Verizon, it still brought in no small pennies. In the first quarter of the year, the media segment—which also includes holdings such as TechCrunch, Yahoo Sports, and Engadget—grew sales by 10% to $1.9 billion.

AN EIGHT-YEAR COURTSHIP: It was too much. It was too little. Those were the conflicting soundbites from onlookers opining about Okta’s acquisition of security startup Auth0 for $6.5 billion in March. One thing is for certain: The deal has been long in the making. Here’s an amazing anecdote from 2015, when Okta CEO Todd McKinnon politely pulled a “you’re either with us, or against us” while trying to court then-Auth0 CEO Jon Gelsey over a steak dinner.

“The group met at El Gaucho steakhouse in Bellevue, Wash., Auth0’s hometown. Over a meal of bone-in-ribeye, McKinnon renewed his takeover pitch—and this time, he delivered a hard-edged ultimatum: Join us, or prepare to compete head-to-head. ‘I was a little more aggressive,’ McKinnon recalls.

‘I was like, listen, we’re going to go public and we’re talking about a significant part of Okta that I would give up to combine these companies,’ McKinnon says. (He would not say how much of a stake in the business he was prepared to offer.)”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week, project management startup Basecamp threw itself into the limelight after its founders released a memo encouraging employees to steer away from political conversation while at work. Tech writer Casey Newton reported, citing sources, that about a third of the company's 57 employees had accepted buyouts as of Friday to leave. Basecamp last week said it offered employees severance packages worth between three to six months' pay, depending on their tenure within the company.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com

Anne Sraders helped curate today's Term Sheet.

Getir, a Turkish delivery app, is in talks to raise at least $500 million at a $7 billion minimum valuation, per Bloomberg.

Wealthsimple, a Canada-based investment startup, raised $610 million at a $4 billion valuation. Meritech and Greylock led the round.

Affinia Therapeutics, a Waltham, Mass.-based gene therapy, raised $110 million in Series B funding. EcoR1 Capital and Farallon Capital Management led the round and were joined by investors including Avidity Partners, Casdin Capital, GV, Octagon Capital, Perceptive Advisors, RA Capital Management, TCG Crossover, and Woodline Partners.

Mux, a San Francisco-based video platform, raised $105 million in Series D funding. Coatue led the round and was joined by investors including Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Cobalt, and Dragoneer.

SafetyCulture, an Australia-based operations platform, raised an undisclosed amount of funding that values it at $1.6 billion. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Tiger Global.

Bibit, an Indonesia-based robo-advisor app, raised $65 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital India, per DealStreetAsia.

Genies, a Los Angeles-based personalized avatar developer, raised $65 million in Series B funding. BOND led the round, and was joined by investors including NEA, Breyer Capital, Tull Investment Group, NetEase, Dapper Labs, and Coinbase Ventures.

Path Robotics, a Columbus-based robotics welding company, raised $56 million in Series B funding. Addition led the round and was joined by investors including Drive Capital, Basis Set, and Lemnos Lab.

Catch Co., a Chicago-based platform for fishing brands and supplies, raised $38 million in Series B funding. True Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including TechNexus.

TerraTrue, a San Francisco-based privacy and security tools platform, raised $15 million in Series A funding. 3L led the round, and was joined by investors including Anthos Capital and Chris Sacca.

Pachama, a San Francisco-based maker of a marketplace for forest carbon credits, raised $15 million. Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Lowercarbon Capital, Saltwater Capital, the MCJ Collective, and OATV.

Avenue 8, a San Francisco-based residential real estate brokerage, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Threshold Ventures and Craft Ventures led the round.

Zoomo, an Australian e-bike company, raised $12 million. AirTree Ventures led and was joined by investors including the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Maniv Mobility, and Contrarian Ventures.

Energy Exploration Technologies, an Austin-based lithium extraction technology company, raised $10 million. Investors included Obsidian Acquisition Partners, Helios Capital, and the University of Texas.

Backer, a San Francisco-based college savings platform formerly known as ColegeBacker, raised $8.4 million. Crosslink Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Rally Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and Expansion Ventures.

Sorbet, a U.S. and Israel-based startup focused on financial risks pertaining to paid time off, raised $6 million in seed funding. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Global Founders Capital and Meron Capital.

Bone Health Technologies, a San Francisco-based bone health company, raised $2.5 million. Good Growth Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Astia Angels, Ambit Health Ventures, Portfolia Femtech Fund, IT-Farm, Golden Seeds, Berkeley Angel Network, the Band of Angels, and Reno Seed Fund.

Headset, a Seattle, Wash.-based data analytics provider serving the cannabis industry, raised $1.8 million in funding. Silverleaf Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including WGD Capital and Poseidon.

Francisco Partners and TPG Capital agreed to acquire Boomi, Dell Technologies’ cloud business, for $4 billion in cash.

KKR acquired Natural Pet Food Group, a New Zealand-based pet food company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

– Unsolicited takeover bids from two separate groups (EQT and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners in one consortium and KKR in another) were rejected by KPN NV, a Dutch telecom company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Insurvia, a portfolio company of Gemspring Capital, acquired La Familia Agency, a Dallas-based independent insurance agency. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

L Catterton completed its acquisition of Birkenstock, the German sandal maker. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

RallyDay Partners invested in Pyx Health, a Tucson, Az.-based health services platform aimed at helping lonely and isolated individuals. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Tempo Music Investments, backed by Providence Equity Partners, acquired the music catalogs of music artists including Wiz Khalifa, Florida Georgia Line, Brett James, and Mia Fieldes. It also acquired catalogs from producers including Philip Lawrence and Malay.

Unicat Catalyst Technologies, backed by White Deer Energy, acquired Magma Group, a U.K.-based ceramics and catalyst manufacturing services provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Zonda, backed by MidOcean Partners, acquired BuzzBuzzHome, a Toronto-based online new construction residential real estate listings platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK) acquired Woven, a Mountainview, Calif.-based calendar app. Woven has been backed by investors including Amplify Partners and Battery Ventures. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN) agreed to acquire Skew, a London-based data provider with cryptocurrency derivatives analytics. Octopus Ventures backed Skew. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Ximalaya, a China-based audio and podcast platform, filed to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. The firm posted $621 million in revenues on nearly $93 million in net losses in 2020. The company is backed by Tencent and plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “XIMA”.

On AG, a Swiss sports-shoe maker backed by Roger Federer, is in talks for an IPO that could value it around $5 billion, per Bloomberg.

Waterdrop, a Chinese health insurance platform that uses crowdfunding, says it plans plans to raise $330 million in an offering of 30 million ADSs priced between $10 to $12 papiece. Boyu Capital, Gaorong Capital, and Swiss Re back the firm.

MeridianLink, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based provider of software to financial institution, field to raise $100 million. Thoma Bravo and Serent Capital back the firm.

Paymentus, a Redmond, Wash.-based electronic billing platform, filed to raise $100 million. Accel-KKR backs the firm.

Vaccitech, the U.K.-based company behind a coronavirus vaccine, raised $111 million in an offering of 6.5 million ADSs priced at $17, within its previously stated range. Investors include Oxford Sciences Innovation, Prudential, and Google Ventures.

Werewolf Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company developing therapies for cancer, raised $120 million in an offering of 7.5 million shares priced at $16. MPM Capital, UBS Oncology Impact Fund, and RA Capital back the firm.

Qiniu, a China-based provider of cloud data services, filed to raise $100 million. Taobao, Matrix Partners, and Qiming Funds back the firm.

Allvue Systems, a Coral Gables, Fla.-based investment management software firm for private investors backed by Vista Equity Partners, is reportedly planning an IPO that could value the company at up to $3 billion, Bloomberg reports citing sources.

Plus, a Cupertino, Calif.-based autonomous driving truck startup backed by Sequoia, is in talks to merge with blank check company Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V, for an over $3 billion valuation, per Bloomberg.

Roviant Sciences, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company, will go public via merger with Montes Archimedes Acquisition, a SPAC backed by former KKR dealmaker Jim Momtazee. The deal values the duo at at about $7.3 billion.

WayRay, a Switzerland-based augmented reality developer for cars backed by Porsche and Alibaba, is considering going public via a SPAC for a valuation of up to $2 billion, per Bloomberg.

Legendary Entertainment, a film producing unit of Dalian Wanda Group, has considered options including going public via merger with a SPAC and acquisitions, per Bloomberg.

F+FS

New State Capital Partners, a Larchmont, New York-based private equity firm, closed New State Capital Partners Fund III with $450 million.

Amadeus Capital Partners, a U.K.-based investor, closed the Amadeus V Technology fund with £110 million to invest in early-stage deep tech.

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