How To Lose $9 Billion In Two Years

Verizon writes down Oath

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What's going on?

On Tuesday, telecoms giant Verizon communicated that its fourth-quarter profit would take a significant hit thanks to a major restructuring.

What does this mean?

Verizon’s media business, Oath, is largely to blame. In 2015, Verizon bought creaky internet pioneer AOL for $4.4 billion; then, in 2017, it spent another $4.5 billion on buying Yahoo!. The company hoped that combining the two under a swanky rebrand would create a major player in digital content, boasting websites like Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Tumblr.

Alas, competition in the advertising business, namely from Alphabet and Facebook, has caused some serious soul-searching at Verizon. It’s re-evaluated its media segment, and concluded Oath is now worth almost nothing – compared to almost $5 billion a year ago.

Why should I care?

The bigger picture: Oath’s not the only thing forsworn…

Verizon is also laying out $2 billion this quarter on redundancy packages for some 10,000 employees with a view to cutting costs. The company’s aiming to save $10 billion by 2021 in order to get more competitive in its core business of connecting people. While some rivals have bought competitors, and others have managed to pull off their own high-stakes media acquisitions, Verizon’s focused its investments on infrastructure – which might leave it well-positioned in the expensive 5G battle to come.

For markets: There’s a new stock on the Verhorizon.

For every write-down, there’s a write-up (of sorts): Dell’s shareholders on Tuesday approved a $24 billion acquisition that will transform the tech titan back into a public company (it’s been private since 2013). Dell’s offering current investors in its subsidiary VMware the opportunity to take cash or newly created shares in Dell in return for selling up. Those new shares will be on the stock market by the end of the month – so investors will have to decide whether Dell’s worth backing, and, if so, decide what to sell in their portfolio in order to make room.

Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.

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