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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Resigns As Verizon Completes $4.5 Billion Purchase

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Not too long ago, Yahoo and AOL were kings of what we used to call the World Wide Web. Now they're part of the same company. And it's not cool to say WWW anymore. Verizon bought AOL back in 2015, and as of today it also officially owns Yahoo. Lauren Silverman of member station KERA reports on the deal.

LAUREN SILVERMAN, BYLINE: First, the price Verizon paid for Yahoo - $4.5 billion.

BRIAN WIESER: For Yahoo, it was a pretty good number.

SILVERMAN: Brian Wieser is senior analyst with Pivotal Research Group. He says Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, was willing to pay so much because absorbing Yahoo puts it in a better position to draw in digital advertising money.

WIESER: The two companies create a larger entity to sell advertising. The scale matters because the larger you are, the better you look in an advertiser's wallet.

SILVERMAN: Verizon originally bid 4.8 billion for Yahoo, but lowered the amount after the disclosure of massive data breaches that happened under CEO Marissa Mayer. Mayer left Google for Yahoo in 2012 after years of high CEO turnover.

RITA MCGRATH: Well, Marissa came to symbolize hope at Yahoo.

SILVERMAN: Rita McGrath is a professor at Columbia Business School. She says Mayer did find some new growth opportunities for Yahoo, especially in mobile, but her management style didn't suit everyone.

MCGRATH: She rubbed others just the wrong way in terms of not listening and not paying attention to what they thought were the truly critical things she needed to do.

SILVERMAN: As expected with the acquisition, Mayer resigned today. She's expected to receive a compensation package of $23 million. McGrath says Mayer is one of a clutch of women to experience what she calls the glass cliff. No, not the glass ceiling.

MCGRATH: But the glass cliff is a different thing, which is that oftentimes women are given opportunities after everybody else who's been considered, you know, exhausted.

SILVERMAN: Former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will take over for Mayer. Under Verizon, he'll be heading up the new digital subsidiary called Oath. That company includes an umbrella of brands like HuffPost, Yahoo Mail and Tumblr. Verizon's Oath will be up against Google and Facebook for ad dollars. Lauren Silverman, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF QUETZAL'S "CIEN ANOS DE SOLEDAD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren Silverman is the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She is also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.