The surprising numbers in Verizon’s AOL buy

May 13, 2015

Verizon’s decision to purchase AOL made headlines, but in the realm of global telecom mergers it is little more than a side note.

TelecomDeals051315-620As this Reuters graphic shows, once debt is factored in, the Verizon acquisition is just the 13th biggest global deal so far this year. A number of the top 10 deals aren’t as much mergers as piecemeal purchases of desirable parts of one company’s business, and it’s unclear whether AOL will be kept intact or disassembled for parts.

So far, Verizon hasn’t done much to telegraph its intentions for AOL, though cannibalizing and/or relaunching some of the company’s components seems an option. AOL has discussed spinning off The Huffington Post, which is valued at as much as $1 billion, and many analysts see AOL’s mobile advertising capabilities as the company’s main asset.

AOL’s 2000 merger with Time Warner is generally regarded as a catastrophe, but those who bet on the company when it was subsequently spun back off look have made out pretty well. AOL’s stock closed at $23.50 on its first day back on the market back in 2009—that’s less than half of the $50 per share offer that Verizon made this week.

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