Verizon Communications is close to a deal to buy Yahoo for nearly $5 billion in a play to increase its presence in mobile advertising.
Bloomberg reported the deal would include Yahoo’s internet business, possibly its real estate assets but not its patents.
Yahoo announced earlier this year that it would look at “qualified strategic proposals,” meaning offers to buy the company. Bloomberg reports that Verizon outbid AT&T, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and buyout firms Vector Capital Management and TPG.
Verizon could leverage Yahoo’s millions of users on websites like Flickr and Tumblr and combine them with AOL, which Verizon acquired last year for $4.4 billion, to create a mobile advertising platform that could compete with the leaders in that field, Google and Facebook.
In 2008, Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion, but the deal later fell apart. Microsoft and Yahoo later went on to form a search ad advertising alliance, but that deal has loosened over time. Last October, Yahoo inked a search deal with Google.
Yahoo named former Google executive Marissa Mayer its CEO in 2012 to turnaround the struggling internet pioneer. One big move included a plan to spinoff Yahoo’s stake in Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, thought as the most valuable piece of the company, in a way that would minimize tax issues. But that plan failed and shareholder pressure to put the company up for sale grew.