“BZZZT… EEE-YOO, EEE-YOO! YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” Those are the sounds that many Internet early adopters haven’t had to listen to for well over a decade now. However, there are still 2.1 million lost souls trapped in AOL dial-up hell and they’re about to become Verizon subscribers. Verizon on Tuesday announced that it plans to buy AOL for $4.4 billion at $50 per share, which represents a 17% premium over its stock price at the close of Monday’s trading.
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What is Verizon thinking here? Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement that “AOL has once again become a digital trailblazer, and we are excited at the prospect of charting a new course together in the digitally connected world.”
It’s true AOL does own The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and other popular websites but its old-timey dial-up business is still the most profitable operation that it runs. Why Verizon thinks this has the potential for massive future growth at this point in time is anyone’s guess.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will remain with AOL and will continue to run its operations once the deal is complete.
15 years ago, Time Warner paid a whopping $180 billion to buy AOL, a deal that is widely viewed as one of the most disastrous mergers in modern business history. At least if Verizon is making the same mistake Time Warner did, it won’t cost the company nearly as much.