Seven finalises sale of Yahoo7 to Verizon

Seven West Media has announced the completion of the sale of its 50% interest in Yahoo7 to Verizon Media.

Seven will receive $20.75m in cash for its shares this financial year and now fully owns and operates all of its ‘direct to consumer’ digital products. Seven CEO Tim Worner said the strategy is already working, with Seven-owned websites performing better than the Yahoo7 joint venture did.

“We launched one week ago. It is already reaching larger daily online news audiences than Yahoo7. Similarly, Pacific and are reaching record daily audiences, higher than at any time in the joint venture. There is a lot more upside for our short-form content in a world where we 100% control it,” Worner said.

Yahoo and Seven West Media’s joint venture began in 2006, after a number of attempts to develop a large-scale web presence. Those attempts included a partnership with AOL, under a platform known as AOL7.

The Yahoo partnership included the 7News website, 7Sport, Yahoo Finance, as well as lifestyle and entertainment destination Be, and email portal Yahoo7 Mail.

The Verizon takeover first came to light in 2016, with Verizon paying US$4.83bn for Yahoo, casting doubt over the future of its joint venture with Seven. A new brand, Oath, was formed and Yahoo and AOL merged. In 2017, the deal was amended to confirm that Seven’s decade-long partnership with Yahoo would continue, however Seven also launched its own video platform: 7Plus. Fast forward to March last year, and Seven sold Yahoo7 to Oath (which has since rebranded to Verizon Media), triggering a slew of redundancies and exits.

This latest transaction marks the official end of Seven’s relationship with Yahoo, and follows Seven exercising a ‘put option’ under Yahoo7’s shareholders agreement.

Worner said it was a milestone.

“Today marks a huge milestone in the ongoing transformation of Seven. In just over two years, we have radically revitalised our digital strategy. Our new products are rapidly becoming leaders in their respective markets and are now taking a meaningful share of some of the fastest growing advertising categories. And we are just getting started,” said Worner.

“All this puts SWM in the strongest possible position as we enter our next phase of exponential digital growth in 2019 and beyond to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”


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