Verizon Angling For $1B Discount On Yahoo Following Hack And Spying Revelations

October 11, 2016
In The News

Demonstrating that allegedly allowing the US government to scan hundreds of millions of your users' emails may not just be abetting a violation of the 4th Amendment but also a huge financial liability, we learn via the New York Post that Verizon is seeking a $1-billion discount on the purchase price of Yahoo following revelations of hacking and allegations of spying at the company. News of the pending sale broke in July with an eventually agreed upon purchase price of $4.4 billion. That, however, was before the latest scandal hit the troubled company.

"In the last day we’ve heard that [AOL boss] Tim [Armstong] is getting cold feet," a source told the Post. "He’s pretty upset about the lack of disclosure and he’s saying, ‘Can we get out of this or can we reduce the price?’ ”

The cold feet in question follow a one-two punch of bad news for Yahoo. On September 22, Yahoo Chief Information Security Officer Bob Lord announced in a blog post that "certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor. The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers."

The hack affected upwards of 500,000,000 accounts, he wrote.

Then, just earlier this week, Reuters reported that Yahoo was secretly scanning all incoming emails in real time at the government's behest. Congressman Ted Lieu told Ars Technica that the request was "flat out unconstitutional."

It seems these dual scandals were just too much for Verizon, and company execs are now wondering if they can get a huge discount. And this appears to be more than just sharks smelling blood in the water and looking to save a cool billion — "the discount is being pushed because [Verizon] feels Yahoo’s value has been diminished," sources told the Post.

Yahoo, for its part, is having none of it — with sources telling that Post that Yahoo executives are essentially saying "too late."

For his part, noted privacy advocate Edward Snowden thinks the takeaway is clear.