Marissa Mayer has laid off thousands of Yahoo employees over the last four years, all in an effort to turn things around for the company. It didn’t work, and neither did any of her other turnaround efforts, which is why Yahoo’s shareholders have decided to throw in the towel and sell the company’s core business to Verizon for $4.8 billion. Mayer is being forced to go along with this plan, which means she’s essentially being forced to put herself out of the job. It seems kind of poetic when you think about how many people she’s laid off, but none of them left the company with the more than $200 million that Mayer will be leaving with.
One of the most important companies of the first dot-com boom, Yahoo, has reached the end of its life as an independent company. Yahoo’s board approved the sale of Yahoo’s core business to Verizon in a deal valued at $4.8 billion. The company’s shareholders and regulators must still approve the deal — the companies expect it to close in early 2017. The deal represents a stunning decline for a company that was valued at more than $100 billion at its 2000 peak. Yahoo was never really able to adapt its technology and culture for a post-2000 internet that was focused on social media and mobile devices, and so it steadily fell behind rivals such as Google and Facebook. After the Verizon acquisition, signature Yahoo properties like its search engine, email service, photo sharing site Flickr, and blogging platform Tumblr will presumably continue operating. But it’s hard to imagine that Yahoo will ever again play the kind of high-profile role online that it did two decades ago. Ironically, what ultimately forced the hand of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wasn’t the dismal performance of Yahoo’s online properties so much as an investment by Yahoo that worked too well. In 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in one of China’s hottest technology startups, Alibaba. That bet paid off so spectacularly that by last year Yahoo’s Alibaba shares accounted for the large majority of the company’s value.